Why People Are Talking About Andrea Riseborough’s ‘To Leslie’ Oscar Campaign


Andrea Riseborough might not be a name that rings many bells for the average moviegoer.

But, most likely, your favorite actor in that movie that you love knows exactly who she is. And they want her to win an Oscar.

It’s, frankly, an odd tale — one that began in October with the limited release of a short-lived independent film called “To Leslie,” about what happens when a single mother wins the lottery and runs out of money. Riseborough plays the titular Leslie, in a performance that was widely praised by critics as some The best work of her career.

And just last week, it was Riseborough nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, Her first Academy Award nomination.

But there are questions surrounding her nomination, which followed a public push by several big Hollywood stars — think Gwyneth Paltrow and Amy Adams. Now, without specifically mentioning Riseborough or To Leslie, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says it’s investigating the actions of this year’s campaign to ensure no rules were broken. (Contacting Academy members to promote a film or pay for an award is prohibited.)

So dim the lights and blast the thrilling music. Here’s everything you need to know:

Until recently, most Americans had never heard of “To Leslie.” The movie premiered at South by South West in March Only $27,000 at the box office during its limited edition.

This month, that changed when some of the biggest names in film threw their weight behind the film. Paltrow They praised the movie on Instagramsaying that Riseborough should win every prize, including “all those not yet invented.”

Adams hosted a conversation with Riseborough and director Michael Morris, call the movie “An astonishing and amazing feat of filmmaking.”

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Kate Winslet, Jennifer Aniston, Edward Norton, and Charlize Theron have all publicly supported the film in various ways, through moderated performances or discussions.

Meanwhile, other actors posted on Twitter Almost identical phrases supported the film, calling it “a small movie with a giant heart”. Some have likened it to the copy and paste function.

Although the celebrity-backed campaign isn’t a purely grassroots effort, the push for Riseborough and “To Leslie” feels like one. Rarely do celebrities come out with this kind of support for a movie they weren’t involved in, which makes Riseborough’s rapid rise unique.

But this isn’t the first time an actor has publicly tried to push the Oscars on his own. A decade ago, actress Melissa Leo did her own photo shoot and took her own “For Your Consideration” ads. Liu was then nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 2010 film The Fighter.

“The whole awards process is, in a sense, about pandering,” she said He told the New York Times in 2011. Leo went on to win the award.

Industry watchers And he noticed Voices are often requested to level the playing field — in this case, drawing attention to a low-budget, little-known movie. The difference now is social media, making this push public rather than pushing it behind closed doors.

However, not every actor has the kind of connections that Riseborough does. Critics of the nominations pointed out that Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) and Danielle Didwiller (“Even”), two black actresses who were among the early nominees, were not nominated for the award. (Both films also drew bigger audiences to the box office.)

It has always been an issue with diversity at the Academy It is discussed and dissected. And although Riseborough isn’t wrong on the shrugSome has indicated The campaign behind it shows how beneficial it is to have white famous friends.

On Friday, the Academy announced a “review of campaign procedures around this year’s nominees,” according to a statement obtained by CNN.

The Academy did not specifically mention Riseborough, or celebrity pressure for her nomination. But many people connect these dots.

Christina Ricci, star of the Emmy-nominated show “Yellowjackets,” called the Academy’s decision to review the proceedings “very backward,” in a now-deleted Instagram post.

She wrote, “It seems amusing that a ‘snap nomination’ (meaning a ton of money wasn’t spent for this actress’ position) for a legitimately brilliant performance has been met,” she wrote. according to the deadline. “So only movies and actors can afford campaigns that deserve credit? It feels elitist and exclusive.”

Whether Riseborough’s nomination would actually be overruled is difficult to say. There is precedent — in 2014, composer Bruce Broughton received an Oscar nomination for the title song of “Alone Yet Not Alone” and it was later axed on his campaign.

Celebrity endorsements aside, Riseborough faces fierce competition in this category, from the likes of Michelle Yeoh (“everything everywhere at once”) and Cate Blanchett (tar).

As the ruckus begins, one thing’s for sure: You’re going to need more popcorn.

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