Andrea Riseborough’s controversial Oscar nomination will not be taken away after an Academy review.
The British actor had been a surprise inclusion in this year’s best actress category for her performance in low-budget drama To Leslie after a last-minute campaign from celebrities including Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow. Accusations of unfair tactics were raised and the Academy announced an internal review of campaign procedures.
“Based on concerns that surfaced last week around the To Leslie awards campaign, the Academy began a review into the film’s campaigning tactics,” a statement read today. “The Academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film’s nomination should be rescinded.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. These tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly.”
In a Los Angeles Times article, it was alleged that the director Michael Morris and his wife, actor Mary McCormack, contacted many celebrity friends to ask them for social media support with many resulting tweets containing similar wording to push the film. Neither of them are Academy members, however.
The film’s official account also shared a post that quoted an excerpt from critic Richard Roeper’s best films of the year, which spoke about Cate Blanchett’s performance in Tár in comparison. An official Academy rule states that “any tactic that singles out ‘the competition’ by name or titles is expressly forbidden”.
The statement from the Academy added: “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.”
Earlier this month, Riseborough received support from her co-star in the film Marc Maron and actor Christina Ricci who claimed the investigation was “elitist and exclusive and frankly very backward to me”.
Riseborough is included in the category alongside Cate Blanchett, Ana de Armas, Michelle Williams and Michelle Yeoh. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw praised Riseborough in his review, singling out “a great performance”. The film is being re-released in cinemas after only making $27,000 (£21,936) upon release.