Christina Ricci Slams Academy Awards Controversy

Christina Ricci has slammed the Academy Awards for investigating Andrea Riseborough, and stated she should not lose her nomination.

By Phillip Moyer | Updated

christina ricci

Actress Andrea Riseborough might lose her nomination for Best Actress at the Academy Awards for possibly breaking campaigning rules. Addams Family and Yellowjackets actress Christina Ricci has responded to the controversy. According to Deadline  Ricci stated, “Seems hilarious that the ‘surprise nomination’ (meaning tons of money wasn’t spent to position this actress) of a legitimately brilliant performance is being met with an investigation.”

“So, it’s only the films and actors that can afford the campaigns that deserve recognition?” Christina Ricci asked. “Feels elitist and exclusive and frankly very backward to me.” 

The reason that Christina Ricci is referring to a surprise nomination comes from the fact that Riseborough’s film, To Leslie, was a little-known independent film that only made $23,304 at the box office. People were expecting nominations for Viola Davis’ performance in The Woman King and Danielle Deadwyler’s role in Till, but neither actress received a nomination. Meanwhile, Andrea Riseborough’s performance was almost unheard of before it was thrown into the spotlight by the Academy Awards.

Normally, films mount expensive campaigns to win a nomination, often involving lavish parties, placed advertisements, film screenings, and direct marketing campaigns — explaining the “tons of money” comment made by Christina Ricci. To Leslie, however, mounted a different sort of campaign. Around Oscar season, many celebrities started openly talking about the little-known film on social media — supposedly after being asked to do so by Andrea Riseborough’s campaign consultants.

Andrea Riseborough is best known for her roles in Roald Dahl’s Matilda the MusicalBirdman, and Black Mirror, though she had never received an Academy Award nomination before To Leslie. To hear Christina Ricci talk about it, Riseborough gave an amazing performance in the film — one that was definitely deserving of a nomination. However, the specific (less-expensive) tactics that Riseborough allegedly used to promote her performance might have run afoul of recently-created rules regulating film promotion.

The specific rule that To Leslie supposedly broke involves direct lobbying to voting members of the Academy — a practice that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has tried to crack down on in response to meddling by infamous producer Harvey Weinstein. Whether the campaign should be considered direct lobbying is up in the air (in fact, it’s not public knowledge which members of the academy are voting members). To get around this rule, campaigners are forced to launch broader campaigns — meaning that Christina Ricci might be right, the rules mean that only those who can afford to campaign stand a chance of getting a nomination. 

Another rule may have been broken as well, as seen through a social media post made by Titanic and Unforgiven actress Frances Fisher. Fisher named Riseborough alongside several other potential nominees — a direct violation of the Academy rules, assuming Fisher did so at the behest of Riseborough’s team. Christina Ricci says that she’s sure Riseborough had nothing to do with the campaigning — but even if she didn’t that might not be enough to save her nomination.

Regardless of whether any rules were broken, Christina Ricci’s point stands: as it is, it seems like only well-funded films with large campaigning budgets stand any chance of receiving an Academy Award. The other films whose leads earned Best Actress nominations all cost tens of millions of dollars to make. To Leslie, meanwhile, barely had a budget to speak of. 

We’ll have to wait until the Academy’s investigation ends before we know the fate of To Leslie’s nomination. But if the nomination is rescinded, Christina Ricci has words for the Academy: “If it’s taken away shame on them.”