Oscar organisers have decided that British actress Andrea Riseborough can keep her nomination, despite expressing “concern” over the film’s campaign strategy. Although Riseborough was an underdog, she received support from Hollywood heavyweights like Gwyneth Paltrow, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, and Edward Norton. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is currently investigating whether or not the campaign violated its policies.
The problems were deemed to be “not significant enough that the film’s nomination should be revoked. “Bill Kramer, CEO of the Academy, said “Unsettling campaign strategies were uncovered, however, particularly those involving social media and community outreach. Concerns about these strategies are being raised with those responsible.”
So-called “responsible parties” have not been identified by the Academy. There have been no accusations made against Riseborough. She plays a Texas mother who drinks too much and struggles to make ends meet after losing her lottery winnings in the low-budget film To Leslie, for which she received a best actress nomination last week.
She had been flying under the radar during award season until she received a flurry of attention from celebrities who praised her on social media and even hosted screenings. It appears that a handful of pro-Riseborough but also anti-competitor posts were the deciding factor in whether or not the campaign violated Academy guidelines. The official To Leslie Instagram account shared a controversial post that has since been deleted.
“As much as I admired [Cate] Blanchett’s work in Tár,” wrote Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper, “my favourite performance by a woman this year was delivered by the chameleonlike Andrea Riseborough.” The critic certainly didn’t do anything wrong by voicing his opinion, but the To Leslie campaign might have run into trouble by using a quote that compared Riseborough and Blanchett.
Actress Frances Fisher, known for her roles in Titanic and Gone in 60 Seconds, also advocated for Riseborough, suggesting that Blanchett, Michelle Yeoh, Danielle Deadwyler, and Viola Davis did not require additional support because they were already “a lock for their outstanding work.” Blanchett and Yeoh joined Ana de Armas and Michelle Williams as best actress nominees. Both Deadwyler and Davis, who are black, were left out.
The writer and director of Deadwyler’s Till, Chinonye Chukwu, has since accused Hollywood and society at large of “unabashed misogyny towards Black women.”
After being overlooked for an Oscar, Till’s director has spoken out against what she calls “misogyny.” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement on Tuesday: ” “The Academy’s campaign regulations are in place to protect the integrity of the organization’s awards ceremony. “Based on this analysis, it is clear that certain aspects of the regulations need clarification in order to provide a better framework for civil, all-inclusive, and objective campaigning.
“Those alterations will be made following the current awards cycle and communicated to our membership. The Academy works to foster an atmosphere where films and accomplishments are judged solely on the basis of their artistic and technical merit.” Along with Bill Nighy, Riseborough is the other British actor to receive an Oscar nomination this year. On March 12th, the winners will be announced in Hollywood.