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Why is Andrea Riseborough's Oscar nomination so controversial? Drama explained

The controversy surrounding Andrea Riseborough’s nomination explained

andrea riseborough oscar
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
February 1, 2023
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It was recently decided that actress Andrea Riseborough was allowed to keep her Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her role in To Leslie, despite the controversy surrounding the film’s campaign to score the star the much-coveted accolade. So what is the controversy all about? Find out more here…

British actress Andrea was a dark horse for the Best Actress nomination, and her Oscar nod was a massive surprise due to the small budget of the indie film, in which she plays an alcoholic woman broke after winning the lottery - particularly when actress Viola Davis was snubbed for her celebrated role in The Woman King, which was expected to receive a nomination.

WATCH: The movie has been met with controversy at the Oscars 2023 

However, it soon came to light that there was a strong campaign for Andrea to be considered for the nomination, as the actress had requested that her famous friends post about the film and support her role, with the likes of stars including Jennifer Aniston, Edward Norton and Gwyneth Paltrow publicly offering their support for Andrea’s performance in the film.

In one email, which was sent between the nominations period which ended on January 17, she wrote: "If you’re willing to post every day between now and Jan 17th, that would be amazing! But anything is helpful, so please do whatever makes you comfortable. And what’s more comfortable than posting about a movie every day!"

to leslie insta© Photo: Instagram

Andrea has been able to keep the nomination

Speaking about her nomination, she later told Deadline: "I’m astounded. It’s such an unexpected ray of light. It was so hard to believe it might ever happen because we really hadn’t been in the running for anything else. Even though we had a lot of support, the idea it might actually happen seemed so far away."

The Academy's thoughts on Andrea Riseborough's controversy

The Academy has since confirmed that the campaign did not break the rules, with the conclusion of the review revealing that it did "not rise to the level that the film's nomination should be rescinded".

andrea riseborough© Photo: Getty Images

Andrea emailed her Hollywood peers asking for support

Speaking about the issue, a spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement that read: "The purpose of the Academy's campaign regulations is to ensure a fair and ethical awards process - these are core values of the Academy. Given this review, it is apparent that components of the regulations must be clarified to help create a better framework for respectful, inclusive, and unbiased campaigning.

"These changes will be made after this awards cycle and will be shared with our membership. The Academy strives to create an environment where votes are based solely on the artistic and technical merits of the eligible films and achievements."

andrea riseborough 6© Photo: Getty Images

What do you think about the controversy?

Academy chief executive Bill Kramer said: "We did discover social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern. These tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly."

Andrea Riseborough's controversy's public reaction

However, the court of public opinion has a somewhat different take, with the public largely unimpressed that Hollywood’s elite essentially campaigned for Andrea’s nomination, while two Black actresses who were contenders for the accolade, Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler, were snubbed.

One person wrote: "I think the people who are like 'Andrea Riseborough did nothing wrong other actresses could do it too’ are being incredibly disingenuous because if that were the case, another black woman besides Halle Berry would have won Best Actress since 2002."

andrea rise borough to leslie© Photo: Instagram

Have you seen the movie yet?

Another person added: "I’m less interested in the Andrea Riseborough investigation and more so in if the actors responsible are going to use that power next awards cycle, to support extraordinary performances that are overlooked by the Academy, especially by people of color. If not, well…there you go."

A third person wrote: "All for a 'small movie with a big heart' getting recognition. Yet, it feels weird to have Andrea Riseborough get in after 1 week of  famous friends go on IG, while Danielle Deadwyler (also in a 'small movie with a big heart') pounded the pavement for months to wind up snubbed."

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However, others continued to support Andrea, with one wiring: "Just unfortunate that Andrea Riseborough’s very first Oscar nomination is tainted with undeserved hate and malice. She deserves to be on the final five. Watch TO LESLIE first, before judging or slandering her." Another added: "I was never asked to support Andrea Riseborough, I was only asked to watch #ToLeslie and decide for myself.

"After I watched and saw she was Oscar-worthy, I was encouraged to help spread the word. Not sure how this approach is more nefarious that dumping millions into print ads."

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