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Franco, who many pundits predicted would land an Oscar nomination for best actor, is one of the most recent high-profile men to be accused of sexual misconduct. Earlier this month Franco won the Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical for his portrayal of The Room director and star Tommy Wiseau. Soon after his win, several women took to Twitter to accuse the actor of inappropriate behavior, also calling him out for wearing a Time’s Up pin to the ceremony.
One of the women who spoke out is Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a former acting student at Studio4, the film school Franco founded in North Hollywood. “Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes, remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn’t exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that,” Tither-Kaplan wrote.
Following his Globes win, Franco addressed the allegations on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Franco told Colbert that none of the claims made on Twitter were accurate, but that he continues to support women for speaking out. “If I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I don’t know what else to do,” he said.
Franco reiterated his defense during a visit to Late Night With Seth Meyers, explaining that despite him having his “own side” of the story, he believes it’s important for women to speak out. “There are stories that need to get out,” Franco told Meyers. “There are people that need to be heard. I have my own side of this story, but I believe in, you know, these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will hold back things that I could say just because I believe in it that much, and if I have to take a knock because I’m not going to try and actively refute things, then I will. Because I believe in it that much.”
On Jan. 11, the Los Angeles Times published a story in which five women, including Tither-Kaplan, detailed sexually inappropriate and exploitive behavior by Franco, including allegedly being coerced into performing oral sex.
Later that night, Franco won a Critics’ Choice Award, but he wasn’t present to accept the trophy. While the win made headlines in light of the recent allegations leveled against him, voting for the award had ended two days earlier, before the Times story was published
Likewise, voting on this year’s Oscar nominations closed on Jan. 12, only a day after the L.A. Times report, so assuming most Academy members voted before they were made aware of the claims against Franco, it’s possible that the allegations didn’t play much of a role in whether he was nominated.
Franco did attend the SAG Awards on Jan. 21, where he was nominated for best actor in a leading role but did not win. Voting on the SAG Awards remained open until Jan. 19.
Still, a number of this year’s Oscar nominees do have ties to individuals who were accused of sexual misconduct over the past few months, as harassment and assault allegations have rocked Hollywood.
The Florida Project star Willem Dafoe was nominated for best supporting actor after the film received recognition from numerous awards organizations and critics groups, including three Critics’ Choice Award nominations and one win, two Independent Spirit Award nominations and Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA noms. In December more than a dozen insiders accused Andrew Duncan, the co-founder of Florida Project production company June Pictures, of sexual harassment. Duncan divested from the company, his partner Alex Saks announced, saying that she would run it alone. Meanwhile, director Sean Baker, speaking for the film’s cast and crew, issued the following statement distancing the film from Duncan: “On behalf of the cast and crew of The Florida Project, I am saddened to learn about these allegations against June Pictures’ Andrew Duncan. Mr. Duncan was a financier on our feature, and we are grateful that we were able to fulfill our vision on our own terms, however our personal experiences with him were limited. While we did not witness nor have any knowledge of inappropriate behavior, we are of course deeply concerned about these allegations. I have been outspoken before and firmly believe that film sets and work environments absolutely must be safe spaces for everyone regardless of gender, age, race, or creed.”
Coco was nominated for best animated feature and best original song (for “Remember Me”), despite the film’s release having arrived in wake of Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter’s decision to take a leave of absence after allegations of misconduct. After Coco received two Golden Globe nominations in December, director Lee Unkrich told The Hollywood Reporter that the moment was bittersweet due to the circumstances concerning Lasseter. “With all this happiness, I’m also heartbroken for John, who has been my friend,” Unkrich said. Coco went on to win the Golden Globe for best animated motion picture as well as two Critics’ Choice Awards, the Producers Guild Award for outstanding producer of animated theatrical motion pictures, and numerous awards from critics groups.
After Christopher Plummer stepped in to replace Kevin Spacey in All the Money in the World, following allegations of sexual harassment and assault against the House of Cards star, Plummer earned Golden Globe and BAFTA noms for best supporting actor. While he went home empty-handed from the Globes, the actor wound up with an Oscar nomination in the category of best supporting actor.
Finally, former Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant added Oscar nominee to his résumé on Tuesday as he scored a nod for his Dear Basketball animated short. Bryant was charged with rape in 2003, but the criminal case was dismissed and a civil case was eventually settled.
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