Tuesday 26 March 2019

A year on from an Oscars dominated by the Weinstein scandal, what has changed?

Harvey Weinstein was expelled from Hollywood following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Harvey Weinstein was once a regular fixture at the Oscars (Miramax/PRNewswire/PA)
Harvey Weinstein was once a regular fixture at the Oscars (Miramax/PRNewswire/PA)

By Keiran Southern, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Harvey Weinstein was once almost as prevalent at the Oscars as the golden statuettes handed out to the winners.

The then all-powerful film producer was a regular feature, standing out amongst the preened and polished Hollywood elite thanks to his unshaven beard and sizeable frame.

According to a memorable 2015 study, Weinstein, the man behind movies including Pulp Fiction and The King’s Speech, was thanked more often than God in Academy Awards acceptance speeches.

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Harvey Weinstein was exiled from the entertainment industry amid allegations of sexual assault (Anthony Devlin/PA)

However, Weinstein was exiled from the industry he used to rule following an October 2017 New York Times expose alleging he had sexually assaulted multiple women.

Following the report dozens more accusers came forward.

As a result, Weinstein, who denies all allegations of non-consensual sex, was booted out of the Academy and the film studio he founded with his brother Bob, The Weinstein Company, filed for bankruptcy.

Last year was the first Oscars ceremony to take place in the wake of Weinstein’s downfall, although the reverberations remained strong.

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The Oscars will not have a host after Kevin Hart stepped down (Ian West/PA)

Host Jimmy Kimmel addressed sexual harassment in his opening monologue, warning the celebrities gathered at the Dolby Theatre: “We can’t let bad behaviour slide anymore, the world is watching us.”

Three of Weinstein’s alleged victims, Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek, appeared on stage to introduce a montage celebrating diversity in film, while at one point Judd shouted: “Time’s up!”

This time around, the Weinstein effect is expected to be more subtle, though the fallout from his downfall was such that it is unlikely things will ever be the same again.

Over the last 12 months, the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era took place when Bill Cosby, 81, was convicted of drugging a woman before molesting her at his home.

Cosby, once known as America’s Dad, was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison, and is appealing the sentence.

Kevin Spacey, another A-list actor brought down in the aftermath of the Weinstein scandal, appeared in a US courtroom accused of sexually assaulting a man.

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Frances McDormand will be among the presenters at the Oscars (Ian West/PA)

While this year’s Oscars ceremony is not expected to feature the scandal in such an overt way, it would be a surprise if Hollywood’s attempts to diversify are not put centre stage.

This year’s Oscars will have no host due to the Kevin Hart homophobic tweets controversy, instead relying on a team of celebrities including Brie Larson, Gary Oldman and Frances McDormand.

While picking up the best actress gong last year for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, McDormand delivered a stirring call for more diversity in the industry.

It would not be completely unexpected if she returned to the theme a year on.

Meanwhile, as his former colleagues and some of his alleged victims gather for the 91st Academy Awards, Weinstein will be preparing for his rape trial in New York.

It is unknown if he will be watching the ceremony that used to be the most visible manifestation of his power.

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