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EXPLANATION: Why Everyone’s Arguing About Riseborough’s Oscar Win

Nothing – no ugly Tom Cruise, no Austin Butler delay Elvis Presley bent — caused no less publicity around this year’s event Oscar in the nomination for the best female role British actress Andrea Risenborough.

Riseborough was unexpectedly nominated for her portrayal of an alcoholic single mother in Texas in the little-seen indie drama “To Leslie,” a choice that shocked Oscar pundits and has since drawn scrutiny from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. collected $27,322 at the box office, “To Leslie” and Riseborough made a lot of noise.

It’s about the way Riseborough’s candidacy is being promoted. While many contenders for the awards are supported by organized campaigns paid for by their film’s studio, Riseborough rose through the Oscars ranks largely thanks to the efforts of “To Leslie” director Michael Morris and his wife, the actor Mary McCormack. They urged stars to watch the film and either host a screening or praise Riseborough’s performance on social media. And many of them did.

So what’s the matter? Partying in Hollywood isn’t exactly news; that’s more or less the modus operandi. But Riseborough’s nomination — and the outcry it sparked — derailed this year’s Oscars season, with potential ramifications for March’s Academy Awards and the bids of all future Oscar contenders.


For about 15 years, Riseborough, 41, has been a regular in film, TV and London theater, but is sometimes hard to register because of her chameleon-like performances. She appeared in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky (2008). She made an impression as Riggan’s girlfriend in Birdman (2014). She played Stalin’s daughter in the film “The Death of Stalin” (2017). In the film “Mandy” (2018), together with Nicolas Cage, she played the kidnapped girlfriend of his character. In 2022, Riseborough had several other notable roles, including David O. Russell’s Amsterdam and Mrs. Wormwood in Matilda the Musical. She’s been doing notable work in adventurous independent cinema for a long enough time that the Oscar vote for her may also have been partly due to her low-key work.


Almost no one expected Riseborough’s latest campaign to earn her a nomination. It wasn’t completely out of left field, though. Riseborough’s performance in To Leslie was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. But she wasn’t expected to compete in what was generally considered the toughest category to break into this year. Riseborough was nominated along with Kate Blachette (“Tar”), Michelle Williams (“Fablemen”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere and At Once”).

“I’m surprised,” Riseborough told Deadline shortly after the nominations were announced. – It was so hard to believe that this could ever happen because we weren’t really involved in anything else. Even though we had a lot of support, the idea that it could happen seemed so far away.”

Two highly regarded roles were dropped: Viola Davis in The Woman King and Danielle Deadweiler in Da. The fact that both black women are the most glaring scorns in the category sparked the discussion. ‘Till’ director Chinonye Chukwu suggested in a post on Instagram that the system had failed. “We live in a world and work in industries that are so aggressively committed to preserving whiteness and perpetuating shameless misogyny against black women.”


Almost every acting nominee is involved in some kind of Oscar campaign to highlight their performance and get voters to see their film. It is a game played. Playwright and screenwriter Jeremy O. Harris noted on Twitter: “Don’t people realize what actresses did for Andrea Riseborough happening privately every night for several months starting in October for every movie/play (with) a chance.”

There are rules that limit the types of events that can be held and even how many promotion messages someone can send to academy members during the voting period. Most companies are backed by veteran strategists and a significant amount of money. However, Riseborough’s pushers managed to get her attention without such support. Instead, they relied on them to spread the word.

Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Adams and Courteney Cox have all hosted screenings of the film. “You have to win it all,” Winslet told her in a virtual Q&A. Other stars like Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon, Mira Sarvino and Rosie O’Donnell added their praise on social media. Riseborough’s backers saw in the campaign — no sunset billboards, no “For Your Consideration” ads, just a deep Rolodex — an innovative way to bypass traditional Oscar rituals. In a since-deleted post, actress Christina Ricci wrote of the reaction to Riseborough’s nomination: “So only films and actors who can afford the campaign deserve recognition? I feel elitist and exclusive and, frankly, very backward to me.”


There is no public evidence that Riseborough or anyone on her behalf has clearly violated academy rules. The endorsements and endorsements that have boosted Riseborough are commonplace. Some suggest that Riseborough may have received a boost from the intense passion of her supporters, who could have made her their primary candidate.

But if the academy finds that someone has violated the rules of contacting academy members “directly and in a manner outside the scope of these rules,” the academy’s board of governors “may take any corrective action or impose any penalty, including disqualification,” according to from to the statute of the academy. “Furthermore, any member of the academy who authorizes, performs, or otherwise permits campaign activity that, in the opinion of the board of governors, violates the letter or spirit of these rules may be subject to suspension of membership or expulsion from the academy.”

Oscar nominations are rarely revoked, but they have happened. In 2014, composer Bruce Broughton, nominated for Best Original Song, was disqualified after it was revealed that he had emailed members of the music department to draw attention to a submitted song. At the time, Broughton, a former governor of the academy, was a member of the music department’s executive committee.


The Academy has not commented on Riseborough’s nomination. But he announced on Friday that he would conduct a review of the company’s procedures around this year’s nominees “to ensure that no guidelines have been breached and to let us know whether changes to the guidelines may be necessary in the new era of social media and digital technology.” communication”.

“We are confident in the integrity of our nomination and voting procedures and support genuine grassroots campaigns for outstanding results,” the academy added.


Follow through AP Screenwriter Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP


For more information on this year’s Academy Awards, visit: http://www.apnews.com/academy-awards


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