James Franco’s path to the 2018 Oscars appeared bright on Sunday following his Golden Globe win for best actor in a comedy or musical for The Disaster Artist. Now with allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior emerging against him, does he still have a shot at an Academy Award — and what happens to the rest of the awards race?
The actor, 39, skipped Thursday’s Critics’ Choice Awards, where he won the award for best actor in a comedy. He is also nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 21, but is now weighing his options about whether to attend, a source says. Shaken by the accusations, “he’s in a really bad place,” another source previously told PEOPLE. “His close friends are trying to be there for him but it’s been hard – he’s only talking to a select group of people. For now, he’s just hiding out.”
SAG Awards voting runs through Jan 19. As TheWrap reports, the accusations may hurt Franco’s chances with voters who have yet to cast their ballots, but most members tend to vote early.
Meanwhile, with the Globe and Critics’ Choice wins and SAG nomination, Franco has been considered a lock for an Oscar nomination — and that probably won’t change. Nomination ballots were sent out to Academy members who vote on the Oscars on Jan. 5, and voting closes today, Jan. 12, leaving only last-minute voters the chance to grapple with the allegations against Franco. Nominations will be announced Jan. 23, and members have between Feb. 20 and 27 to vote on the eventual winner.
If nominated, Franco isn’t likely to win at the Oscars, where he faces tough competition from frontrunner Gary Oldman, who won the Globe for best actor in a drama for The Darkest Hour, and Call Me By Your Name‘s rising star Timothée Chalamet. (At the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice, Franco had the advantage of competing in a comedy-specific category.)
Controversy around Franco started to erupt on Jan. 7, when he appeared at the Globes (wearing a Time’s Up pin supporting the organization fighting sexual harassment) and two women accused him of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior on Twitter. Then an article published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 11, five women accused the actor of abusing his power as an acting teacher and mentor in a sexually exploitative manner.
Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, denied each of the women’s allegations, and cited Franco’s comments on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Tuesday as his formal denial.
“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” Franco told Colbert. “I have to do that to maintain my well being. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.”
In the L.A. Times article, two students of Franco’s claimed the actor would often become angry on set when they would refuse to film topless while another former acting student at the film school Franco founded said he once removed safety guards while filming an oral sex scene on the set of the 2015 film The Long Home.
RELATED: James Franco Accused of Inappropriate Behavior By Five Women
Additionally, actress Violet Paley recounted her previous social media claims that Franco exposed himself and tried to pressure her into oral sex. Though she said they had a consensual relationship, Paley said: “That time wasn’t consensual.” She also alleged that he told her friend to meet him in a hotel when the friend was 17.
During an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Wednesday, the actor addressed the sexual harassment allegations.
“There are people that need to be heard,” the actor told Meyers. “I have my own side of this story, but I believe in 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,” he said. “So 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.”
One accuser, The Breakfast Club star Ally Sheedy, who worked with the actor in 2014 on his Off-Broadway directorial debut, The Long Shrift, wrote in now-deleted tweets, “Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much.” Adding “James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business.”
RELATED: James Franco Denies Sexual Harassment Allegations, Says Has No Idea Why Ally Sheedy ‘Was Upset’
When Meyers asked for clarification, Franco was quick to deny his former costar’s claims.
Shaking his head no, he said, “I had a great relationship with her. She took the tweet down. I don’t know, I really don’t. I don’t know, it was so shocking. I guess I’m just letting it be.”