Casey Affleck: Unspecial Sleazeball

I know it’s been a couple days, but I’m still slow-burn mad about the Oscars. I’m unbothered by the envelope mixup, since all’s well that ends well: Moonlight got the Best Picture award it deserved, and La La Land did just fine for itself throughout the night. Both movies ended the evening with a lot of audience goodwill, and I’m guessing a lot of people vowed to watch them – which is the point of the show, really.

My Oscars outrage is reserved for the Casey Affleck best actor win. Guy’s a creep. Been accused of sexual assault and general WTFery by multiple female filmmakers, widely reported – and bear in mind that I’m a female filmmaker who spends a lot of time in Boston, so the gossip I hear extends beyond what’s reported in industry mags and makes me unhappy with my local film community.

Clearly it’s totally necessary that Brie Larson, high-profile advocate for sexual assault survivors, had to hand him an Oscar. Women are too sensitive about this stuff and should grow a pair if they want to work in this industry which definitely requires testicles. We sure know Casey Affleck has testicles. He’s made sure to show that off to his coworkers.

I like the art of some real jerks. If you want to make the case that a performer isn’t his off-camera behavior, I can show up for that. But you can’t give me that argument with Casey Affleck. Dude has been turning in the same one-note performance for a couple decades, and it was boring the first time.

In general, a standard I use for evaluating whether I like an actor’s work is: If I do an imaginary recasting of their part, is the movie better, worse, or pretty similar? I don’t just mean in an individual movie, which is succeptible to “well, sometimes they phone it in” or “well, they were miscast.” I mean more broadly.

For instance, I’m not always a Nicole Kidman fan, but if I try to think of somebody else in The Others – even the magnificent Cate Blanchett – it doesn’t work as well. Speed doesn’t work without Sandra Bullock, Imagine Kate Winslet in there, no. Margo Martindale, no. Got to be Sandy. By the same token, I’ve seen a lot of Batmans and a lot of Batman’s non-criminal girlfriends, and the only one who ever made an impression on me was Maggie Gyllenhaal. These are good performances, whether or not they have prestige moments. I know because other very skilled people couldn’t pull them off.

I think of Casey Affleck performances, and I could stick Jared Leto in them. I could stick Ben Whishaw in them. I could stick Michael B. Jordan in them. I could stick Jonathan Rhys Meyers in them. I could stick Michael Keaton in them. (Ignore the age. This isn’t about availability. This is about interrogating alternate performance choices.) Casey Affleck does ok – he doesn’t usually sink a film – but what he does, other actors could do, often in ways that would interest me more.

Carol Anne says: Just to clarify, last year’s Best Supporting ACTOR gives the award to this year’s Best Supporting ACTRESS; and vice-versa. So next year, Emma Stone will give away the Best Actor award. And Viola Davis will give away the Best Supporting Actor award. And Casey Affleck will give away the Best Actress Award next year. Too bad for that actress, hopefully she will take the Oscar from him without getting too close to him.

Romie: That’s always struck me as a little weird, the gender swap there, as though it would be worrying if there were too many men or women on the stage at one time. Maybe it’s to make sure there is always a pretty dress to look at? I’d want to get my award from the person who got it last year, not the person who got the other one, like “Welcome to the club! I have been in the same place as you recently!”

Carol Anne: Yeah, I would like to get it from the actress, as a sort of passing of the torch thing. Maybe the whole reason for the gender swap is so that there HAS to be a hug and a kiss between the presenter and the winner? If so, especially in this case, ewwwww.