Kobe Bryant's Oscar kicks up controversy

Updated 2018-03-06 17:14:01 Xinhua

Former basketball superstar Kobe Bryant's Oscar for Best Animated Short Film at the 90th Academy Awards on Sunday has triggered one of the biggest controversies about Hollywood hypocrisy.

Five-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champion and widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players, Bryant, however, raised eyebrows with his win in the year of the Hollywood "Time's Up" groundswell, with various people coming out with accusations of sexual abuse in the film industry.

Bryant faced a sexual assault accusation 15 years ago. The charges were dropped in 2004 when the woman refused to testify in court. Bryant had said the sex was consensual.

The awards ceremony on Sunday night focused heavily on the "MeToo" and "Time's Up" movements, which are encouraging victims to speak out against sexual harassment and abuse.

Some viewers reacted harshly to Bryant's award.

"Shoutout to @kobebryant for winning an OSCAR!" a user with the handle "History of Sports" tweeted.

"Funny getting an Oscar after being charged with sexual assault. And everyone claps. So much for TIMES UP! Movement," another user posted.

"Guess Oscar voters forgot about the rape allegations against Kobe Bryant," a third Twitter user wrote.

The short directed by animator and director Glen Keane was based on a poem titled "Dear Basketball" written by Bryant when he felt his playing days were coming to an end.

The film follows his aspirations as a young boy practicing his shots with a mini basketball made from a pair of his dad's rolled-up socks.

As the film progresses, it goes back and forth between the younger and older versions, with Bryant taking the NBA by storm and the wistful boy, who dreams of greatness.

The five-minute short ends on a bittersweet note: "This season is all I have left to give ... That's ok, I'm ready to let you go ... I wanted to let you know now so that we can savor every moment we have left together ... I will always love you," Bryant says in the film.

The player got emotional when accepting his Oscar. He said: "I dreamt of winning championships, but this feels better. To be here right now is a sense of validation ... when you find what you love to do, everything else makes sense."

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