Andrea Riseborough’s Oscar nomination for independent drama “To Leslie” will not be rescinded, but the use of social media in a grassroots campaign supporting her did not sit well with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
After the film academy announced it would be “conducting a review of campaign procedures” in the wake of Riseborough’s shock best actress nomination, the body’s board of governors deliberated at a previously scheduled meeting on Tuesday.
“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 The Academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film’s nomination should be rescinded.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.,” Academy CEO Bill Kramer said in a statement.
“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,” he concluded.
Since the Oscar nominations announcement, industry professionals and reporting have been discussing varying accounts on whether the awards campaign for the 41-year-old English actress violated any of the Academy’s strict rules and guidelines. Directed by Michael Morris, “To Leslie” grossed only $28,000 at the box office. That did not stop a best actress campaign from forming, along with rumors that the group may have exercised “aggressive” tactics to target the 1,302 members of the Actors Branch to secure a nomination for Riseborough.
Among the most prominent potential campaigning violations was a since-deleted Instagram post from the “To Leslie” account that quoted an excerpt from Richard Roeper’s top 10 films of the year, which referenced Riseborough’s fellow best actress nominee Cate Blanchett (“Tár”).
Variety spoke with multiple anonymous AMPAS voters over the past week, with the majority agreeing there was no wrongdoing and that her nomination should not be rescinded. That has only happened nine times in the Academy’s history.
The Academy’s first statement after nomination announcements didn’t specifically name Riseborough or “To Leslie.”
“We are conducting a review of the campaign procedures around this year’s nominees to ensure that no guidelines were violated and to inform us whether changes to the guidelines may be needed in a new era of social media and digital communication,” the statement read. “We have confidence in the integrity of our nomination and voting procedures and support genuine grassroots campaigns for outstanding performances.”
Annually, the Academy and its Board of Governors meet for a post-mortem following its ceremony to discuss any potential changes to the show or its rules. Updates and revisions to rules and regulations could arrive following the Oscars ceremony on March 12.
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