Viggo Mortenson could lose out on an Oscar nomination after uttering a racial slur during a panel discussion about his new film Green Book, insiders say.
Mortenson, 60, uttered the n-word at an event in Los Angeles with his co-star Mahershala Ali and director Peter Farrelly earlier this month, sparking a backlash on social media.
The actor apologized, saying he had been making the point that many people casually used the slur in 1962, when the movie takes place.
And while the outcry has somewhat died down and Mortenson has continued to appear on the awards season campaign trail, industry insiders say it could have cost him an Academy Award nomination.
Mortenson, 60, uttered the n-word during a panel discussion (pictured) in Los Angeles with his co-star Mahershala Ali on November 7
‘He was obviously trying to make a statement in a conversation and its hard in this charged atmosphere to say what is forgivable and what is not,’ a veteran film executive, who is an Oscar voter, told Variety.
But he added that another factor affecting Mortenson’s chances is the diversity of the 928 people who have joined the film academy in 2018.
But a top Hollywood awards consultant claims the Lord of the Rings star’s blunder may have already been forgotten.
They say what could hurt Mortenson’s chances of an Oscar nod are this weekend’s box office numbers.
‘I think there’s a short memory span otherwise this whole industry would collapse,’ the consultant said to the magazine.
Mortenson plays Italian-American Tony Lip, who is hired to drive an African-American pianist, played by Ali, on a concert tour in the Deep South in Green Book
Mortensen has continued to appear on the awards campaign trail. Pictured, the actor arrives at the Governors Awards on Sunday
In an apology statement, Mortenson acknowledged that he had ‘no right to even imagine that is caused by hearing the word in any context.’
He said he was worry he had used the word and insisted he had intended to ‘speak strongly against racism.’
‘Although my intention was to speak strongly against racism, I have no right to even imagine the hurt that is caused by hearing that word in any context, especially from a white man,’ he said in a statement.
‘I do not use the word in private or in public. I am very sorry that I did use the full word last night, and will not utter it again.’
Viggo Mortensen, left, and co-star Mahershala Ali are pictured in a scene from Green Book
And it appears the industry has forgiven Mortenson, who received a standing ovation at the official Academy screening of Green Book – which has had glowing early reviews – on Sunday.
Mortenson’s co-star Ali – who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight in 2017 – also issued a statement shortly after Mortenson apologized for his remarks.
While he said it was not appropriate for Mortenson to use the word, he accepted his co-star’s apology.
In Green Book, Mortenson plays Italian-American Tony Lip, who is hired to drive an African-American pianist, played by Ali, on a concert tour in the Deep South.