LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) –Los Angeles Lakers Legend Kobe Bryant – who faced allegations of rape 15 years ago — received an Oscar nomination Tuesday that could prompt criticism amid the #MeToo movement that has swept through Hollywood.
Bryant was nominated in the best animated short film category for “Dear Basketball.” The six-minute film is based on a letter that Bryant wrote in the Player’s Tribune in November 2015 announcing his retirement from the NBA. The short film was directed by Disney animator Glen Keane and scored by legendary composer John Williams.
Following the nomination, Bryant tweeted, “This is beyond the realm of imagination. It means so much that the @TheAcademy deemed ‘Dear Basketball’ worthy of contention.”
In July 2003, Bryant was arrested on charges of sexual assault against a 19-year-old woman at a hotel in Edwards, Colo. The charges were eventually dropped when the victim refused to testify against him. A civil lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.
Bryant admitted to having a sexual encounter with the woman, but claimed it was consensual. At the time, he released a statement that read in part:
“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”
With allegations of sexual misconduct engulfing Hollywood, Bryant’s nomination could create for some awkward moments on Oscar night as the industry continues to grapple with fallout over the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
While the response to Kobe’s nomination awaits to be seen, on Tuesday James Franco was snubbed for his leading role in “The Disaster Artist” amid his own sexual misconduct scandal, this after he was awarded a Golden Globe for his performance.
Meanwhile, the 88-year-old Christopher Plummer received a best supporting actor nomination for “All the Money in the World,” which he remarkably shot in just a few weeks after replacing the disgraced Kevin Spacey.