Andrea Riseborough’s controversial Oscar nomination will not be withdrawn after criticism from the Academy.
The British actor had been a surprise inclusion in this year’s Best Actress category for her performance in the low-budget drama To Leslie after a last-minute campaign from celebrities including Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow. Accusations of unfair tactics were raised and the Academy announced an internal review of campaign procedures.
“Based on concerns that surfaced last week around the To Leslie awards campaign, the Academy has begun a review of the film’s campaign tactics,” a statement said today. “The Academy has determined that the activity in question does not rise to the level for the film’s nomination to be rescinded. However, we have uncovered social media and outreach campaign tactics that have raised concerns. These tactics are handled directly with the responsible parties.
In an article by the Los Angeles Times, it was alleged that director Michael Morris and his wife, actress Mary McCormack, reached out to numerous famous friends asking for support on social media, with many tweets containing wording similar to push the film. However, neither of them is a member of the Academy.
The film’s official account also shared an article that quoted a clip from critic Richard Roeper’s Best Movies of the Year, who talked about Cate Blanchett’s performance in Tár in comparison. An official Academy rule states that “any tactic that singles out ‘the competition’ by name or titles is expressly prohibited.”
The Academy’s statement added: “The purpose of the Academy’s Campaign Rules is to ensure a fair and ethical awards process – these are core values of the Academy. Given this review, it is evident that elements of the regulations need to be clarified to help create a better framework for respectful, inclusive and unbiased campaigns. These changes will be made after this reward cycle and will be shared with our members. The academy strives to create an environment where votes are based solely on the artistic and technical merits of eligible films and achievements.
Earlier this month, Riseborough received support from co-star Marc Maron and actress Christina Ricci who claimed the investigation was “elite and exclusive and frankly very backward to me”.
Riseborough is included in the category alongside Cate Blanchett, Ana de Armas, Michelle Williams and Michelle Yeoh. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian praised Riseborough in his review, calling it “a great performance”. The film is being re-released in cinemas after grossing just $27,000 (£21,936) on release.