‘To Leslie’the independent drama that gave Andrea Riseborough one of the most impressive nominations in the history of the Oscars, it will also become the film with the most controversial campaign of the year. The Academy of Arts and Sciences in Hollywood announced that “we will review the procedures of the campaign towards the nominations in the wake of the violent reactions of those actresses, and the studios that support them, who have been left out of the nominations” .
Riseborough won a surprise best actress nomination for her role in the film ‘To Leslie’ after a word-of-mouth campaign, much like that of social activists, that was endorsed by celebrities including Kate Winslet, Jane Fonda , Charlize Theron, Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Thorton, Jennifer Aniston or Amy Adams.
While the Academy does not name Riseborough or the actors involved in the campaign, today’s statement questions the ways in which it has been carried out: without money, but very aggressive in word of mouth. The powerful in Hollywood have been shaken to discover that their money did not have the desired effect and that a personal campaign, in the shadows, had gained enough strength to overcome them. “The goal of the Academy is to ensure that the awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner, we are committed to ensuring an inclusive awards process. We are conducting a review of the campaign procedures around this year’s nominees, to make sure no rules were violated and to let us know if changes may be needed in the future about how to deal with social media and communication. digital. We are confident in the integrity of our nomination and voting procedures, and we support genuine campaigns for outstanding performances.”
There is no doubt that Riseborough’s interpretation is great, of the nominees it is the best, said even by Cate Blanchett. Riseborough, a talented English actress, has worked with all the greats of the day; from Mike Leigh to Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Her face has not had the support of Netflix, which papered Sunset Blv with Ana de Armas, nor has it been seen in “For your consideration” ads in professional magazines, but actresses of the stature of Charlize Theron have left their skin making presentations of the film in several local cinemas, something, on the other hand, very common at this time. Theron was the first to host a screening of the film at the Creative Arts Agency in Century City in November. “It’s the kind of movie that stays in your mind. It stays in your bones. It even stays on your skin,” Theron said. Edward Norton and Jennifer Aniston followed up the support later that month by opening their homes at private screenings.
Then it was the turn of Gwyneth Paltrow, who hosted a screening in early January and called the film a “masterpiece.” Courtney Cox did the same. Voting for Oscar nominations began on January 12, and the next day, Rosanna Arquette presented “To Leslie” to a packed theater at Sunset’s Directors Guild. After the credits rolled, Riseborough, Morris, and actors Allison Janney, Maron, and Andre Royo came onstage to speak with Demi Moore. Not a soul left the cinema until the conversation was over.
The campaign went virtual the next day with Kate Winslet, who is working with Riseborough on the set of the drama ‘Lee’. “You should be winning everything. Andrea Riseborough, I think this is the best female performance on screen I’ve ever seen,” Winslet said. Amy Adams led a similar event hours before voting closed, saying she was “happy to get the word out for this incredible cinematic feat.”
By then, social media was flooded with praise from the likes of Susan Sarandon, Helen Hunt with lines like: “If you’re voting for performances, don’t vote until you see Andrea Riseborough.”
Studios fight Riseborough
In the immediate aftermath of her nomination, there were rumors that Riseborough’s campaign may have circumvented film academy regulations, which specify and limit the type of contact allowed to reach voters. Others took to social media, expressing their outrage that no black women were nominated for lead actress, despite performances by heralded nominees such as Danielle Deadwyler for ‘Till’ or Viola Davis for ‘The Woman King.’ The truth is that Riseborough did not replace anyone. She earned the nomination for her by delivering a great, amazing and dynamic performance that has captivated her peers. The Briton’s campaign team understands the speculation about how she got her nomination. “They have the right to do so,” said one of their representatives.
How much support did Riseborough need to get the nomination? The acting branch of the academy has 1,336 members, which means that if everyone has voted, Riseborough required around 200 mentions. But in the Oscars’ preferential voting system, where members rank their choices, a passionate core of first-place votes can catapult the nomination. Given the low visibility of ‘To Leslie’, it is likely that Riseborough was at the top of the ballot for many of her colleagues.
Next Tuesday, the actress is scheduled to meet at the Hollywood Academy with the board of governors and it is unclear what action, if any, they will take. The Academy has only rescinded a handful of nominations in its nearly 100-year history. The last was in 2014, when the nominated original song ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ was disqualified. Meanwhile, Hollywood actors are outraged by the news that the Academy is conducting a review of campaign proceedings. “I feel bad for Andrea,” shares an Academy member director. “No matter what, her reputation is being tarnished and her performance is genius.” If for some reason the Academy were to rescind her nomination, the best actress lineup would remain at four and Riseborough would not be replaced. For various reasons, nine nominations have been rescinded over the Academy’s 95 years. That includes Charlie Chaplin for his film ‘The Circus’ (1928).
From ‘Blonde’ to ‘Tár’: where to see the movies
Riseborough will fight for the best actress statuette with Cate Blanchett (‘Tár’), Ana de Armas (‘Blonde’), Michelle Williams (‘The Fabelmans’) and Michelle Yeoh (‘Everything Everywhere At The Same Time’).
The 95th edition of the Oscars will take place on March 12 in Los Angeles.
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Hollywood is investigating whether an actress fraudulently got her Oscar nomination