The Controversy Surrounding Andrea Riseborough's Oscars Campaign For To Leslie Has Finally Been Resolved

Andrea Riseborough looks distressed in To Leslie.
(Image credit: Momentum Pictures)

As the freshly-announced 2023 Oscar nominations continue to make the news, controversy has once again made headlines. As a successful independent campaign landed Andrea Riseborough a surprise Oscar nomination for her role in To Leslie, the Academy has been looking deeper into the matter to see if everything was above board. Recently, the matter was resolved, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will not be rescinding Riseborough’s nomination. That said, this has prompted some intention to look over campaign guidelines in the aftermath. 

In a statement picked up by Deadline, AMPAS CEO Bill Kramer spoke to the recent kerfuffle that came from the meteoric rise of support for Andrea Riseborough that has been pouring in for the past few weeks. Most importantly, Kramer and the Academy’s deliberation on the To Leslie situation came to the following conclusion: 

Based on concerns that surfaced last week around the To Leslie awards campaign, the Academy began a review into the film’s campaigning tactics. The Academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film’s nomination should be rescinded.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.

Further citing the concern of “ a fair and ethical awards process,” the rest of the Academy’s statement noted that there will be some changes to the guidelines made after the current awards season. This comes after the issue surrounding To Leslie’s shocking Best Actress upset was defended fervently by Christina Ricci and other supporters of Andrea Riseborough. Judging by the intent to modify the process as a result, it doesn’t look like this issue will go away any time soon. 

In the weeks prior to 2023’s Academy Award nominations, a series of screenings and social media pushes touted Riseborough’s performance in director Michael Morris’s indie drama. With the production being so small it couldn’t afford a traditional awards push, this purely “grassroots” effort did the job and secured To Leslie’s single Oscar nomination. 

It’s a scenario that almost harkens back to Melissa Leo’s personal campaign/eventual win for Best Supporting Actress on 2010’s The Fighter. With the actress taking out her own ads to put her role on the radar, it was a personal campaign to overcome alleged ageism and lack of interest from the studio campaign for the movie. 

Official rulings may have sided with To Leslie in accordance with regulations, but the new intent to revise those bylaws in light of such happenings almost sound like the Academy wants to prevent this from happening again. In a world where even announcing Best Picture can get messed up, the nomination process looks to be the next hot button issue when it comes to crowning the best in show at the Oscars. 

To Leslie is currently playing in theaters among the 2023 new movie releases you can also catch at the movies. As for the 95th Academy Awards, that event will air Sunday, March 12th at 8 PM ET, only on ABC. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.