The controversial Oscar nomination of actress Andrea Riseborough for which the Hollywood Academy opened an investigation

Andrea Riseborough is nominated for best actress for her role in “To Leslie.”

British actress Andrea Riseborough’s surprise Oscar nomination has sparked intense debate in Hollywood.

Did the promotional campaign for your nomination break any rules of the Hollywood Academy?

Many in the film industry were stunned when Riseborough was nominated for best actress last week for her performance in To Leslie.

Not because he didn’t deserve it (quite the opposite), but because of how unusual the recognition was for someone with virtually no previous awards season promotion.

superstars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Norton and Courteney Cox They are among those who tried to rally support for Riseborough in the final days of voting for the Oscar nominations.

In To Leslie the british actress plays an alcoholic mother who squanders her lottery winnings, in a critically praised but little known film.

Even though the stars’ efforts were ultimately successful, questions have been raised about how the Riseborough nomination was achieved and if some of those who campaigned for it broke any rules.

The Board of Governors of the Hollywood Academy indicated that the issue will be part of the agenda at its next meeting on Tuesday, after the body received numerous calls and emails about the inclusion of the actress among the nominees.

Actors Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams

Actors Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams announced the 2023 Oscar nominations last week.

The Academy said in a statement Friday that its goal was to ensure that the awards competition “is conducted in a fair and ethical manner.” The body said it wanted to confirm that “the guidelines were not violated” and examine “whether changes to the guidelines may be needed in a new era of social media and digital communication.”

The question of whether the Academy’s rules were violated by some of those who advocated for Riseborough centers on some specific posts that not only promoted it, but also referenced its competitors, something that is strictly prohibited.

Official Academy rules state that any form of public communication by anyone directly associated with an eligible film will not be tolerated. that “attempts to cast a negative or derogatory light on a competing film or achievement.”

“In particular,” they add, “any tactic that points to ‘the competition’ by name or title is expressly prohibited,” and whoever does so will be penalized with a one-year suspension from affiliation with the Academy.

A now-deleted Instagram post that has been particularly prominent. It was published by the official account of To Leslie. He quoted Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times, who wrote: “As much as I admire (Cate) Blanchett’s work on tarmy favorite performance by a woman this year was that of the chameleon-like Andrea Riseborough.”

Cate Blanchett accepts the Best Actress award for "Tár" during the 28th Annual Critics' Choice Awards in Los Angeles, California.

Some publications have compared Riseborough to her competitor Cate Blanchett (pictured), which is against Academy rules.

While there was no wrongdoing by the critic in expressing his opinion, there may be wrongdoing on the part of the campaign To Leslie by choosing a quote that compared Riseborough to Blanchett.

Similarly, Frances Fisher, who acted in titanic Y Gone In 60 Seconds(“60 Seconds”), was one of those who named other best actress nominees such as Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh when posting her support for Riseborough (interestingly, Blanchett herself praised Riseborough, along with other actresses, during her acceptance speech at the recent Critics’ Choice Awards).

These apparent infractions of the rules well could have been done innocently. It’s unlikely that every member of the Academy and movie PR teams knows all the Oscars campaign rules.

However, it is unlikely, although not impossible, that Riseborough be disqualified from the best actress race. Oscar nominees have been suspended in the past, though never in an acting category.

Lobbying is historically one of the most common rule violations that results in a canceled nomination. While promotion and publicity of oneself or a film is permitted, personally contacting Academy voters by phone is not permitted.

What other nominations have been withdrawn?

Two winners with Oscar statuettes.

Two winners with Oscar statuettes.

Here are three of the most recent examples of revoked Oscar nominations:

  • In 2012, a nomination for the Norwegian short film Atlantic Tuba was eliminated from the best short film category after it was discovered that the film aired on Norwegian television before its theatrical release, which is against Academy rules.

  • In 2013, a nomination for Best Original Song for Alone Yet Not Alone, from the Christian film of the same name, was taken down after the song’s composer, Bruce Broughton, emailed members of the Academy’s music branch directly to “let them know of your nomination.” Broughton himself was governor of the Academy and director of the music branch.

  • In 2017, a sound mixing nomination for the film was withdrawn. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (“13 Hours: Benghazi’s Secret Soldiers”) after the discovery of “telephone lobbying” violating voting rules.

Something that might be more likely is some kind of light punishment for anyone who violates Academy guidelines by advocating for Riseborough.

The Academy may also release a statement after its meeting on Tuesday reiterating what the rules are, or potentially even tightening them.

Most industry insiders agree that Riseborough delivers a strong and memorable performance in To Lesliebut some worry that her best actress nomination came at the expense of black actresses.

Actress Danielle Deadwyler (left) and actor Jalyn Hall attend a screening of "Till" on October 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Danielle Deadwyler, pictured with co-star Jalyn Hall, was widely expected to be nominated for her performance in “Till.”

Viola Davis, for example, was thought to be able to compete for The Woman King(“The King Woman”). But the omission of Danielle Deadwyler was the hardest thing to swallow for many.

Many praised her for her outstanding role in till (translated as “Till: Justice for My Son” or “Till – The Crime That Changed Everything”), a film about the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi.

the director of tillChinonye Chukwu, accused the Academy of “blatant misogyny towards black women”, while awards supporters expressed dismay that Deadwyler had been passed over.

But even if Riseborough’s nomination were to be revoked, that wouldn’t necessarily mean Deadwyler or another actress would take her place. In most past nominee elimination cases, the category was narrowed down to four contenders rather than adding a new one.

Many pundits were delighted to see Riseborough nominated and were most upset by the nominations for Ana de Armas, whose film Blonde (“Blonde”) was largely disliked, and by Michelle Williams, who some felt was taking a place in the leading lady’s career when her character on “The Fabelmans” was more of a supporting cast.

Ultimately, of course, it is the Academy’s 10,000 voters (around 1,500 of whom are from the acting branch) who bear responsibility for nominations rather than Riseborough herself or any of the other actresses.

Potential Oscar nominees usually have expensive campaigns behind them, usually funded by their movie studio. But To Lesliewhich grossed $27,000 at the box office, relied more on word of mouth from its fans.

Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira at the 91st Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood on February 24, 2019.

Marina de Tavira (pictured alongside “Roma” star Yalitza Aparicio) earned an impressive supporting actress nomination in 2019.

Riseborough’s nomination was highly unusual mainly because she had not been nominated at any of the previous awards ceremonies, except for the Independent Spirit Awards, which specifically honor independent films.

Perhaps one of the closest comparisons to what happened with Riseborough is the case of the interpreter of “Roma” Marina de Tavira, who experts believe is the only actress who obtained an Oscar nomination without a single nomination in other awards.

There are other comparisons to be made. A print advertising campaign was launched in 2004 for Shohreh Aghdashloo’s performance in House of Sand and Fog (“The House of Sand and Fog”). Three of the ads referred to Renée Zellweger – who ultimately won for her performance in Cold Mountain (“Return to Cold Mountain”) – citing critics who said they preferred Aghdashloo’s performance to hers.

Bruce Davis, the Academy’s CEO at the time, called it an “attack announcement”, and movie studio bosses later apologized, saying they had made “a very bad and ill-advised mistake”.

However, the possibility of Riseborough’s nomination being withdrawn was met with skepticism from film critics on social media. The Academy’s Tuesday reunion announcement quickly became a meme, with many pundits joking that other previous Oscar snubs are now being revisited as well.

Some media outlets have an interest in creating tension over Riseborough’s nomination. Many entertainment publications earn millions of dollars each year using the more traditional campaign methods, that is, they are paid by movie studios for print or internet ads.

Meanwhile, many have come to the defense of Riseborough. ‘Merlina’ star Christina Ricci said: “It seems hilarious that the ‘surprise nomination’ (meaning tons of money weren’t spent to position this actress) for a legitimately brilliant performance is being investigated.”

“So only movies and actors who can afford campaigns deserve recognition? I find it elitist, exclusive and, frankly, very backward. If they take it away, shame on them,” he said.

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The controversial Oscar nomination of actress Andrea Riseborough for which the Hollywood Academy opened an investigation

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