British actress Andrea Riseborough will get to keep her Oscar nomination for best lead actress for her performance in the independent drama “To Leslie,” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Tuesday.
Last week, The Academy launched a “review of the campaign procedures around this year’s nominees,” and though Riseborough and the film were not named as cause for the review, the celebrity-backed grassroots campaign that earned the actress a surprise nomination was thought to be at least partially cause for the examination.
In a statement to CNN on Tuesday, Bill Kramer, CEO of the Academy, confirmed that “concerns” about the “To Leslie” awards campaign that resulted in Riseborough’s nomination prompted an investigation into film’s “campaign tactics.”
Ultimately, the statement said, “The Academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film’s nomination should be rescinded.”
“However, we did discover social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern,” the statement added. “These tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly.”
“To Leslie” follows the story of an alcoholic single mother (Riseborough) who wins the lottery but runs out of money. It premiered at South by Southwest in March and while Riseborough’s performance earned critical acclaim, the film only made $27,000 at the box office during its limited release.
But some big-name Hollywood figures agreed with critics and stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Adams, Kate Winslet and Jennifer Aniston were vocal in their support for Riseborough on social media (sometimes in eyebrow-raising similar language) and via other venues – like Q&As and screenings.
The Academy’s statement did not specify which rules may or may not have been broken in the course of the campaigning that took place on the film’s behalf.
“The purpose of the Academy’s campaign regulations is to ensure a fair and ethical awards process—these are core values of the Academy,” Kramer said in his statement. “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.”
He added that “changes will be made after this awards cycle” and shared with members of the Academy.
Riseborough’s “To Leslie” costar Marc Maron was among those who decried the Academy’s review, scathingly saying that the film’s success “threatens their system,” which is “completely bought out by corporate interests in the form of studios.”
Thought-to-be contenders Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) and Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) were among those who were shut out of the best actress category this year.
Riseborough is joined in the category by Michelle Williams (“The Fablemans”), Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”) and Cate Blanchett (“Tár”).
The voting window for the Oscars runs from March 2 through March 7. The Oscars will take place on March 12.
“The Academy strives to create an environment where votes are based solely on the artistic and technical merits of the eligible films and achievements,” Kramer’s statement added.
BDST: 1048 HRS, FEB 01, 2023