Los Angeles: The Oscar nominations announced last week included a surprising inclusion of the Andrea Riseborough in the Best Actress category for her portrayal of a former lottery winner battling addiction in “To Leslie”. Despite receiving little recognition on the awards circuit and only making $27,000 at the box office, Riseborough’s performance garnered attention from A-list actors who publicly praised her. Gwyneth Paltrow wrote on Instagram, “Andrea should win every award there is and all the ones that haven’t been invented yet,” joining other actors like Edward Norton and Susan Sarandon. Kate Winslet hosted a screening of the film and called Riseborough’s performance “the greatest female performance on screen I have ever seen in my life.”
However, the word-of-mouth campaign sparked backlash and raised questions about whether it violated Oscar rules and if Riseborough, who is white, received a nomination that could have gone to a Black actress like Viola Davis or Danielle Deadwyler. Chinonye Chukwu, the director of “Till,” commented on the issue, saying, “We live in a world and work in industries that are so aggressively committed to upholding whiteness and perpetuating an unabashed misogyny towards The Black women.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will review the matter during a previously scheduled meeting on Tuesday to ensure that no guidelines were violated and to evaluate changes to the guidelines in light of social media and digital communication. The campaign efforts by actress Mary McCormack, who is married to Morris and is represented by the same manager as Riseborough, and her manager, Jason Weinberg, are under scrutiny. Veteran actress Frances Fisher repeatedly posted about the film on Instagram, mentioning the other competitors and their films, which is prohibited in Oscar campaigns. Direct courting of voters is also not allowed without the Academy acting as a gatekeeper.