Andrea Riseborough’s Controversial Oscar’s Campaign Landed Her A ‘Best Actress’ Nom

The polarising move has been criticised by the industry.

In an industry as bureaucratic as Hollywood, the movement of one woman to land herself an Oscar nomination shouldn’t come as a surprise.

But for Andrea Riseborough, a 41-year-old British actress, her grassroots initiative to see herself land a ‘Best Actress’ nomination for her critically panned film, To Leslie, has sparked a social media fire and industry-wide investigation into the campaign procedures.

As it turns out, a campaign scandal is no longer just reserved for the Presidential race or the 1999 cult-classic, Election—with Riseborough’s successful campaign highlighting a larger ethical concern about the business of award seasons.

At the heart of this controversy is Riseborough, and her ground-level attempt to attract the attention of Academy Award nominees by tapping a legion of A-listers to promote her indie drama, To Leslie.

It’s not unusual for large studios to pour millions of dollars into the promotion of a film or actor around award seasons, and the fact that Riseborough’s campaign landed her a place in the ‘Best Actress’ nominee should for all intents and purposes prove that the underdog can win in this David vs. Goliath-esque narrative.

However, what’s mainly earnt the ere of critics is the fact that aside from a handful of Hollywood heavy-weights praising Riseborough performance, not many people are familiar with her, nor the movie she’s supposedly ‘Best Actress’ material in.

Below, everything to know about Andrea Riseborough’s controversial Oscar campaign for To Leslie.

Andrea Riseborough has attracted attention for a controversial Oscar’s campaign that’s landed her a ‘Best Actress’ nomination. (Credit: Source: Getty)

Why Is Andrea Riseborough’s Oscar Campaign So Controversial?

In 2022, Riseborough appeared in the indie drama, To Leslie, as the titular Leslie—a homeless alcoholic who is trying to rebuild her life after spending a small fortune she won in the lottery.

The film debut at SXSW and received minimal, albeit mixed reviews. After a short-lived theatrical release in the United States in October, the film consequential grossed a reported $27,322 against an alleged million-dollar budget.

Despite this, it didn’t stop Riseborough for advocating for a ‘Best Actress’ nomination at the 2023 Academy Awards—a feat she was ubiquitously successful in.

As per countless reports, Riseborough hired two publicists and dedicated her own funds to a grassroots campaign.

Her biggest feat was organising for some of the biggest industry names to promote her performance in interviews and post her on social media.

Just to give you a glimpse at how effective Riseborough was in her mission, the actress succeeded in getting Cate Blanchett, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Adams, Sarah Paulson, Susan Sarandon and more to promote her performance.

Nevertheless, when these movie magnates get this vocal about a cause, the industry stands up and pays attention.

However, the problem people are having with Riseborough’s Oscar nomination, is who the industry is excluding by putting her forward as a contender in the ‘Best Actress’ category.

If we look at Riseborough’s fellow nominees, the stark contrast between Riseborough and the Academy Award history of Michelle Yeoh becomes apparent.

It’s telling that an industry who wouldn’t nominate Yeoh, despite her impressive and vast discouraged, until she achieve mainstream success with Everything Everywhere All At Once, would so readily nominate an obscure actress from a low-budget film at the suggestion of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Andrea Riseborough in ‘To Leslie’ (Credit: Source: Monument Pictures)

What Has The Oscars Said About Andrea Riseborough’s Oscar Campaign?

Following the announcement of the nomination, the Academy has announced they are undertaking an investigation to review campaign procedures.

“It is the Academy’s goal to ensure that the awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner, and we are committed to ensuring an inclusive awards process,” the Academy explained in a statement.

“We are conducting a review of the campaign procedures around this year’s nominees, to ensure that no guidelines were violated, and to inform us whether changes to the guidelines may be needed in a new era of social media and digital communication,” they added.

With the results of the investigation still pending, there is no telling whether Riseborough’s nomination will be retracted or not.

However, for an award ceremony so contentious as the Oscars (see: that moment between Chris Rock and Will Smith at the 2022 ceremony and the #OscarsSoWhite campaign), there’s no doubt that this is one scandal that will be closely followed.

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