Casey Affleck will break with Oscars tradition and will not present the award for Best Actress at the upcoming Academy Awards next month.

Regular protocol at the Oscars dictates that the winner of the Best Actor gong from the previous year returns to present the trophy for Best Actress. In 2017, Affleck won the prize for his role in Manchester By The Sea.

However, his victory a year ago caused controversy, as Affleck was accused of sexual harassment by two women with whom he had worked on the set of 2010’s I’m Still Here. Those allegations had been the subject of a civil suit out-of-court settlement made at the time, but they re-emerged when the 42 year old actor was being widely tipped for an Oscar bid.

Casey AffleckCasey Affleck with his Best Actor Oscar in 2017

A year later, the growing influence of the #MeToo movement in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal has placed a question-mark over Affleck’s involvement. Deadline has reported on Thursday (January 25th) that he will not be attending the ceremony, and his publicist confirmed it to the Associated Press.

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The Deadline reporter had written: “I've heard that Affleck did not want to become a distraction from the focus that should be on the performances of the actresses in the category and that is why he made the proactive move. He was in a no-win situation, with all the attention surrounding the #MeToo movement.”

In the Associated Press, the article quotes an anonymous Academy spokesperson who “says they appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year.”

Last year, there was an awkward moment when actress Brie Larson, who presented Affleck with his Oscar, refused to clap him, instead standing with her arms to her side while the audience applauded.

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