Casey Affleck will not appear at this year’s Academy Awards to present the best actress Oscar, a representative for the actor confirmed to amNewYork Thursday.
In the climate of Time’s Up and #MeToo, there’s speculation in the media that the actor would draw attention away from those nominated for the best actress award this year.
Mara Buxbaum, a representative at WME for Affleck, declined to comment beyond confirming his withdrawal from the ceremony, which is set to take place March 4.
“We appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year,” the Academy said in a statement to media outlets Thursday.
The 42-year-old, who received the best actor award for his role in “Manchester by the Sea” last year, had been expected to present the award for best actress at this year’s ceremony, following tradition. The best actress from the previous year presents the best actor award — Emma Stone is slated to present the best actor award this year, after winning in 2017 for her performance in “La La Land.”
Affleck was awarded last year’s prize in the midst of resurfaced sexual harassment allegations from two women who worked on his 2010 film “I’m Still Here.”
His acceptance speech last year was met with criticism when presenter Brie Larson notably declined to applaud the actor. “I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself,” she told Vanity Fair in the days that followed.