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Oscars 2023: the Academy lets Andrea Riseborough retain her nomination

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Andrea Riseborough


The case is finally settled: Andrea Riseborough will be allowed to keep her Oscar nomination.

After a week of controversy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences met on Tuesday to assess whether the intense social media campaign contributing to Riseborough’s surprising Best Actress nod to ‘To Leslie’ , a little-seen independent film, adhered to the organization’s guidelines. . Although the Academy found no reason to rescind the nomination, it criticized the unspecified “outreach and social media campaign tactics” and said it would address those concerns with the responsible parties.

Andrea Riseborough

“Given this review, it is evident that the components of the regulations need to be clarified to help create a better framework for a respectful, inclusive and unbiased campaign,” Academy CEO Bill Kramer said in a statement. statement, adding that the changes would be implemented after the conclusion of this rewards cycle.

While Riseborough’s performance as a struggling alcoholic after winning the lottery in “To Leslie” garnered critical acclaim, she made little fuss on her own, earning less than $28,000 over the course of her career. of its limited theatrical release.

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The 41-year-old English actress surprised audiences when she landed a Best Actress nomination last week – alongside Ana de Armas, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Williams and Michelle Yeoh – which drew attention to the unusual push behind she.

Just as voting for Oscar nominations began, dozens of A-list actors began praising the low-budget film and its lead performance on their personal social media accounts. Actress Mary McCormack, wife of “To Leslie” director Michael Morris, reportedly coordinated much of the effort by personally encouraging people to watch and share their thoughts online.

Many posts contained similar language, including the now-viral phrase describing “To Leslie” as “a little movie with a giant heart.” Gwyneth Paltrow posted a photo on Instagram of herself alongside Demi Moore, Morris and Riseborough, who she said “should win every award there is and every one that has yet to be invented.” Edward Norton wrote in a rare article that Riseborough gave “the most engaging, emotionally deep and physically heartbreaking performance I have seen in a while”. (Although Norton previously said through a rep that he didn’t post about the Oscars.)

Blanchett, herself an Oscar favorite, even shouted at Riseborough in his speech at the Critics Choice Awards.

Riseborough has worked steadily over the past two decades, appearing in the Academy Award-winning dark comedy “Birdman”, the political satire “The Death of Stalin” and several horror films. While actors often praise their peers in public arenas, posts about her performance in “To Leslie” picked up noticeably in the second week of January – just in time for Oscar nominations voting time. Actress Frances Fisher went so far as to share several articles about Riseborough, speaking directly to the Academy’s acting branch and writing a detailed description of the voting process.

TCM host and Entertainment Weekly awards correspondent Dave Karger said that while he thinks the controversy over Riseborough’s nomination is overblown, the Academy “is smart about dealing with it and understanding how social media is changing. gives it”. Matthew Belloni, former editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter who co-founded media company Puck, called the organization’s reckoning with Oscar campaigns in the age of social media “the greatest legacy” of the debacle.

“There’s a whole economy around the Oscars, and it’s all about the legitimacy of the awards,” Belloni said. “If awards are tainted with this specter of cronyism, it impacts their legitimacy. This is something the Academy should care about.

Of course, he added, “there’s been cronyism in the Oscars since literally the second year they’ve been giving them.”

The Academy has become more transparent about its internal workings since the #OscarsSoWhite backlash in 2015, a year after the Board of Governors announced its goal of doubling the number of “women and diverse members” in the electorate. Last year, the organization elected Janet Yang as its president, who was described in a press release at the time as “instrumental in launching and elevating several of the Academy’s membership recruitment initiatives. , governance, equity, diversity and inclusion”.

Much of the criticism leveled at Riseborough’s nomination framed it as an affront to Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) and Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”), who were each nominated for major trailblazing awards. Several industry experts have argued that while the Academy certainly has some way to go regarding its recognition of black talent, that is a separate conversation from the one about Riseborough.

“With all these high-profile awards shows being televised and reported on, even casual moviegoers have become conditioned to the [idea] that at some point certain artists earned a spot in the race for the Oscars,” Karger said. “They are all different voting bodies and different people. Just because someone got three more nominations doesn’t mean they’ll automatically get the fourth.

The Oscars use a ranked voting system in which members of the Academy list the nominees for the awards in order of preference. This can allow for narrow margins between those who land a nomination and those who miss it. If the vast majority of voters ranked Blanchett (“Tár”) or her compatriot Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) as their No. 1 choice for Best Actress, for example, the threshold to land one of the remaining three slots would have been quite small. With a small number of votes making all the difference, there’s no guarantee Davis or Deadwyler will place sixth; Riseborough might as well have “pushed” contenders like Olivia Colman (“Empire of Light”) or Jennifer Lawrence (“Causeway”).

Riseborough has somehow become a scapegoat for the Academy’s own failures, suggested Melissa Silverstein, founder of Women and Hollywood, an initiative advocating for gender diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. Silverstein described Riseborough as an actress who “worked for decades below the surface for the recognition she deserved”, and said it’s unfortunate that this happened “in one year with incredibly extraordinary black women. in leading roles.

In an ideal world, according to Silverstein, there would be room for more actresses to be recognized.

“It’s a multi-million dollar game,” she said, “and we’re all a part of it.”

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