Oscars Revoking Best Actress Nomination?

The Oscars are reviewing Andrea Riseborough's Best Actress nomination for possibly breaking campaigning rules.

By Jennifer Asencio | Updated

In the quest for a win at the Oscars, did Andrea Riseborough break rules almost as desperately as her Black Mirror character, Mia Nolan? That is a question that will be discussed on Tuesday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that makes the Oscar nominations. Grace Randolph tweeted that the campaign for the actress’s movie, To Leslie, has brought controversy to the nominations, especially as the Best Actress nomination excluded both Viola Davis for The Woman King and Danielle Deadwyler for Till.

The announcement of the nominations for the Oscars was thus quite a shock to many who expected the two Black actresses rather than Andrea Riseborough. The other nominations for Best Actress were Cate Blanchett for Tár, Ana de Armas for Blonde, Michelle Williams for The Fabelmans, and Michelle Yeoh for Everything Everywhere All at Once. However, the controversy is further thickened as the Academy is looking into the tactics used to campaign for To Leslie and whether or not they were ethical by the institute’s standards.

The issue with the nominations for the Oscars including Andrea Riseborough arises from rules that were established in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s sleazy tactics to gain nominations and wins for his movies. They include rules about how studios and performers are allowed to lobby for their movies to be included, as well as what campaigners are allowed to say and who they can say it to. The Academy is examining the tactics used by the To Leslie campaigners, which included a social media campaign that could be seen as an attempt to contact and sway members of the Academy.

The methods used to sway the nominations for the Oscars were social media pushes made by celebrities, which may have been at the behest of Andrea Riseborough’s campaign consultants, who sent emails out trying to persuade other celebrities to say positive things about the movie on a daily basis. It is true that many celebrities, including Gwenyth Paltrow, Amy Adams, and Edward Norton, did make social media posts in favor of the actress, who did turn out an excellent performance for To Leslie. However, was this a grassroots effort, or was it Astroturf?

The other issue was with Frances Fisher, who made a post on social media that mentioned the names of other potential nominees, including Viola Davis, Michelle Yeoh, Cate Blanchett, and Danielle Deadwyler. Although Fisher was as shocked as anyone that Davis and Deadwyler were not nominated, the mention of any specific names of potential nominees violates another rule about campaigning for the Oscars, and Andrea Riseborough may pay the price in the form of losing her nomination. The penalty for naming potential nominees when campaigning for a nomination is a one-year suspension from the Academy for the first offense.

Andrea Riseborough played the villainous Mia Nolan in the Black Mirror episode “Crocodile,” in which Mia and her ex-boyfriend accidentally kill a bicyclist while driving under the influence down a lonely road. Over a decade later, Mia is forced to reckon with this incident in increasingly desperate ways as she fears being found out when her ex decides to come clean for the crime. The same desperation of Mia Nolan seems to have overtaken the team campaigning for the Oscars, and Andrea Riseborough may pay the price by having her nomination rescinded if the Academy decides rules have been broken.