Oscars Reviewing Campaign Rules After Shock Andrea Riseborough Nomination
The Academy Awards will be conducting a review of campaign procedures after Andrea Riseborough’s surprising nomination. The Academy Awards were first held in 1929 and have gone on to become the most prestigious film awards in Hollywood. Nominations for this year’s 95th Academy Awards were unveiled on January 24, and the award ceremony will be held on March 12. This year’s nominations quickly sparked controversy when Andrea Riseborough was nominated for the indie film To Leslie after a grassroots campaign was launched by several A-list celebrities to get Riseborough in the running for Best Actress.
Per THR, the Academy Awards has now released a statement saying that it is “conducting a review of the campaign procedures” to ensure that no rules were violated. While the statement doesn’t mention Riseborough or To Leslie specifically, it alludes to the backlash which was sparked by Riseborough’s surprise nomination. It also states that the Academy actively supports “genuine grassroots campaigns for outstanding performances,” and doesn’t condemn the campaign behind Riseborough’s nomination. Read the Academy’s full statement below:
When the 95th Academy Award nominations were released on January 24, many were surprised to see that, alongside actresses Cate Blanchett, Ana de Armas, Michelle Williams, and Michelle Yeoh, Riseborough was also nominated for Best Actress for To Leslie. The surprise arose from To Leslie‘s relative obscurity, as the film was very low-profile during awards season. While the film won several film festival awards, it was not nominated for any Golden Globe or Screen Actors Guild Awards, as films nominated by the Academy often are. To Leslie also grossed a mere $27,000 in its October release, far less than the million-dollar blockbusters typically nominated for Oscars.
Reportedly, To Leslie‘s director Michael Morris contacted several celebrity friends to encourage them to watch the film, and to spread good press about it on social media. This led to a grassroots campaign of major actors backing the film, including Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron, Jane Fonda, Gwenyth Paltrow, Amy Adams, Edward Norton, and Susan Sarandon. The campaign itself reportedly utilized frowned-upon tactics, such as directly emailing Academy members to encourage them to lobby for To Leslie. Reacting to her nomination for Best Actress, Riseborough stated that she was “astounded” and that “it was so hard to believe it might ever happen because we really hadn’t been in the running for anything else… I’m not entirely sure how the f**k this happened.“
With even Riseborough confused as to how the indie film managed to garner a major awards nomination, it’s no surprise that the Academy Awards are looking into campaign procedures. However, Riseborough’s nomination doesn’t mean that there was any misconduct, as grassroots campaigns are even encouraged by the Academy if members feel very strongly about a particular performance. With the Academy Awards having just launched this inquiry, there will undoubtedly be more information about Riseborough’s nomination to come.
Next: Why The Batman Received The Weirdest 2023 Oscars Snub