After a review of the awards campaign for the indie drama “To Leslie,” the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said Tuesday that Andrea Riseborough will not be stripped of her Oscar nomination for best actress.
The star-studded grassroots campaign for Riseborough had prompted skepticism from some academy voters and caused a stir in Hollywood. On Friday, the academy announced that it would examine whether any rules were broken. Shortly ahead of nominations, Riseborough was propelled into the race after a host of celebrities hosted screenings of “To Leslie” and numerous A-listers promoted her on social media.
After appeals from “To Leslie” director Michael Morris and his wife, actor Mary McCormack, Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Adams and Courteney Cox all hosted screenings of the film. Riseborough, a well-regarded British actor, was unexpectedly catapulted into the best-actress race despite the very small audience for “To Leslie” (about $27,000 in box office).
“The Academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film’s nomination should be rescinded,” Bill Kramer, academy chief executive, said in a statement. “However, we did discover social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern. These tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly.”
The academy has rescinded nominations for campaigning that broke regulations before. Celebrity-hosted screenings are a regular feature of Oscar season, but how voters are contacted during the Oscar voting period is regulated. On Tuesday, the academy suggested Riseborough’s unorthodox campaign may necessitate tweaks to the bylaws.
“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,” said Kramer. “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.”
Critics of Riseborough’s campaign said it showed how a deep Rolodex could give a potential nominee a leg up. Notably left out of best actress contention were Viola Davis (“Woman King”) and Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”).
Along with Riseborough, the nominees are: Cate Blachett (“Tár”), Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”).
Story by Jake Coyle.