I feel so removed from this simmering Andrea Riseborough Oscar nomination controversy, honestly. Like, I absolutely believe Viola Davis was robbed of a nom for The Woman King, and I’m open to the conversation that Danielle Deadwyler was also robbed of a nom for Till. Instead of choosing to support two Black actresses, Academy voters decided to recognize Andrea Riseborough and Ana de Armas. It’s now clear that the Academy’s white women voters decided to throw all of their weight behind Riseborough, and it’s also clear that some of AMPAS’s campaign rules were broken in the process. And after all that… I just feel like “and?” At this point, I do expect Academy voters to ignore Black excellence. I’m not okay with racism, I just expect it, because we literally go through it every year. The only thing different this year is that there’s a clear line of collusion among A-list white actresses going out of their way to throw all of their support behind Riseborough and not Davis or Deadwyler. Speaking of, Christina Ricci had some thoughts:
Christina Ricci is calling out the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Yellowjackets star, 42, defended first-time Oscar nominee Andrea Riseborough against the Academy’s “very backward” review of her surprise Best Actress nod for indie favorite To Leslie, following a last-minute grassroots campaign.
“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,” Ricci wrote Friday in a since-deleted statement on Instagram, according to Deadline and The Independent. She continued: “So it’s only the films and actors that can afford the campaigns that deserve recognition? Feels elitist and exclusive and frankly very backward to me.”
A rep for Ricci did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for additional comment.
Ricci explained in the IG post that Riseborough, 41, likely had “nothing to do with the campaigning” for To Leslie, as actors rarely do, “yet now her nomination will be tainted by this.”
“If it’s taken away, shame on them,” Ricci concluded in the post.
The Wednesday actress’ statement comes after the Academy said in a statement that they “support genuine grassroots campaigns for outstanding performances” but have opened a review after the nomination raised complaints.
As Puck pointed out last week, this wasn’t a no-money grassroots effort though – there was money behind it. Someone was paying for those Oscar-voter screenings, someone was paying for the catering, someone was providing material support for those “grassroots” tweets and social media posts. Just because no one was taking ads out in Variety, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t money and a hell of a lot of coordination behind it. And no one is saying (at least not that I’ve seen) that Riseborough should be stripped of her nomination. The worst that could happen (realistically) is maybe Mary McCormack and Riseborough get a temporary ban on Oscar campaigning for a few years.
Something I’ve been thinking about too is Jennifer Aniston’s failed attempt to do exactly what Riseborough accomplished – remember Aniston’s performance in the indie drama Cake? She got SAG and Golden Globe noms and she hired seasoned Oscar campaign consultants and she got her A-list white-woman friends to host screenings and rave about her in interviews… and then the Academy snubbed her for a nomination. Aniston walked so Riseborough could run.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, ‘To Leslie’.
I needed a good chuckle this morning. It’s sleeting and snowing and I’ve been working outside since 6:30AM, so what I need was to hear some more hysterics about the best playing pretend this year. How utterly ridiculous. What a bunch of dipshits altogether.
It isn’t about Riseborough’s performance. I haven’t seen the movie, I hadn’t even -heard of- the movie. But I don’t think a lot of people are saying she was terrible and didn’t deserve to be recognized. It’s the way that her PR people went about it, which I guess is not allowed.
In a perfect world, Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler and Andrea Riseborough would have all been recognized with nominations. And then they would have probably all lost to Cate Blanchett anyway because it’s the Oscars.
“But I don’t think a lot of people are saying she was terrible and didn’t deserve to be recognized.”
Exactly! And to be fair, she campaigned for an Oscar anyway, even if out of the normal channels.
I didn’t know who she even was before this and now I’m sure I never will as this debacle put me off her for good.
ETA: also, another generic white actress uglying herself for a role isn’t necessarily ‘great acting’.
I feel like there’s really separate things going on here- also, I really am not invested in the Oscars nor do I generally care how Oscar campaigns are run!
Anyway, one, on the rallying around Riseborough and not Davis or, for that matter, that we don’t see these “grassroot” campaigns for actresses of color- definitely should be called out and is a really bad look all around.
But, two, on Ricci’s point though- I do kind of agree in a way. As in, the actual type of campaigning they did, as opposed to who they did and did not do it for, is not somehow worse than normal Oscar campaigns. And I certainly don’t think there’s any argument to be made that traditional studio funded campaigns are somehow based on equity or diversity. If they had done the exact same thing for Viola Davis for example, the way they went about it would not be problematic, I don’t think. I think the issue is really who A list stars choose to expend their personal power and influence for, not that they do it without studio coordination/approval.
I think the main issue is that actress and academy voter Frances Fisher and maybe others put on social media directed toward academy voters that Davis and Deadwyler were locks for nomination, so support (218 #1 votes) should go to Riseborough. That is where the rules were broken. You can advocate all you want for a performance you enjoy, naming the others as being locks for a nomination so please vote for (insert actor) is gaming the system.
Ah, thanks! I am woefully ignorant about Oscar voting, have to admit! Can people not vote for a full slate of nominees for an award or are they limited to less than total #? I know I could look this up…sorry lol! If by saying Viola or Deadwyler were a lock, that meant that people were encouraged to only vote for Risenborough and not them as well thinking other people were voting for them, then yeah I get why that’s problematic.
That is what infuriated me the most…Why do these white actresses ,to promote Andrea, needed to single out the two black actresses? Why didn’t they say Cate Blanchett is a lock so vote for Andrea? This is racism plain and simple or bias… I am tired to see continually these conversations about diversity and « good ppl » acting obtuse!!! As a WOC,I want WOC actors not to care but these nominations are important in these circles cause it helps you fund films,and also helps tell our stories…It is what it is
@sandrinechamb really great point on the singling out that I hadn’t thought about in writing my OP. I agree with you. Not including Blanchett as a lock as well is really problematic. I do think it’s problematic ito of how they went about this, not the “campaign” tactic itself.
@LadyE,thank you for understanding ..:
-I understand that all these actors are backed by studios and also campaigning is important but to make it seems that AR campaign was grassroots is completely erroneous .The Puck article makes it clear it was backed by two PR agencies and it’s very detailed how it was done . It was completely inorganic…
-I am less puzzled by Viola’s snub cause Viola is already a made actress but Danielle is a 40 year old black actress who was spectacular in Till(an important movie about a dark part of history)… but the Academy nominates Cate and Michelle(and we all a know that they love to nominate them and Michelle should be in a supporting role not the best actress) and Ana played a disgusting Marylin in a biopic/not biopic…..and I still remember the blunder when Moonlight won and also do ppl remember when Rosanna Arquette asked WOC and other groups to support white women?!!!
I agree and add that really should the conversation not be that Riseborough took away the nomination of 2 Black actresses but that overall the Academy failed to recognize them. There are nominees in the category. Did their campaigns take away the chances of a nomination for Davis and Hill? No one is saying that. They are trying to put women against one another because that may be easier than saying the Academy failed.
Thanks for the thoughtful discussion so far. I also see this as several things at once:
Andrea Risebrorough is not an A-List actress by any means. She would never have gotten a traditional studio campaign. She’s an actor’s actor. Meaning that the industry insiders all have worked with her and love her but she’s not a household name. So I think this campaign is literally all of her Hollywood friends voting for an accomplished actress who was due. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
As for Deadwyler. When was this ever a lock. No seriously. Yes, she is delivering an outstanding performance in an obvious Oscar bait role. But it’s her first big go around. There was a slim to none chance she would actually get a nomination.
Viola Davis definitely should have gotten a nomination and I think you could make an argument that Riseborough got “her” spot but I think even Viola would admit that there is no such thing as a “spot” on that list.
I do think investigating the Riseborough campaign for shenanigans is justified but I’m sure the studios pull shit like this all the time and suddenly because it is a little known actress who pulled off an upset everyone is out for blood. This seems suspicious to me.
“As for Deadwyler. When was this ever a lock. No seriously. Yes, she is delivering an outstanding performance in an obvious Oscar bait role. But it’s her first big go around. There was a slim to none chance she would actually get a nomination.”
This is really dismissive to say. Deadwyler was nominated for the Critic’s Choice Awards, SAG, and BAFTA. She was viewed as likely for an Oscar nomination just as much as De Armas was (and more so than Williams).
Also her first big go around is a moot point. White actress get Oscar nominations for their film breakthrough all the time. From Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) to Carey Mulligan (An Education). A Black actress shouldn’t have to wait.
To add onto Jay’s defense of Deadwyler, I believe that critical consensus from the time the movie had its festival premiere was “well made if unexceptional film; heartbreaking and career-making central performance that should see little known actress triumphing during awards season.” If you go read a dozen reviews of “Till” from reputable critics, at least 11 of them will probably write something complimentary about her Oscar chances.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it’s common practice for actresses to host screenings for other actresses during awards season. And I believe several white actresses hosted screenings for Octavia Spencer the year she won. So, honest question, were high-profile white actresses asked to host for Davis or Deadwyler, and they said no (which would lean toward collusion)? Or were they never asked?
To answer your question re Oscar voting. Its a preferential ballot (correct me if I’m wrong peeps) so the final tally is based on how many #1 votes you get. The article I read said out of 1302 voters, you only need 218 #1 votes to score a nomination. If the campaign naming the other actresses as locks really stuck with a number of voters, it may have been enough to push Riseborough into a nomination while pushing the others out. Who knows?
For me it’s the way they assumed Viola and Danielle nominations were a lock. So the people voting for Andrea didn’t even bothered voting for them since they thought it was already locked. That’s just not cool.
Agree @Woke. The fact that the “grassroots” campaign singled out the two Black actresses saying their nominations were a lock means they absolutely recognized the calibre of their performances and that everyone would agree those performances deserve to be nominated instead of their white friend. I also wonder whether this campaign avoided going after the other white actresses because they didn’t want to cross the usual Hollywood power players and machines behind them (i.e. Steven Spielberg for Michelle Williams, Brad Pitt for Ana de Armas, and whoever is backing Cate Blanchett). Which in addition to having a racist aspect, is also elitist and all sorts of trampling on the ones with the least power, influence, connections and funding.
What this shows is that you don’t have to be racist to be white supremacist. Mary McCormac literally used Viola’s name in the email to her A-list friends to make them support Andrea ,violation by the way against Academy Rules. Can’t use competition name & appeal directly to voters. Where does that leave POC who are less than a quarter of voters. This is MESSED UP
Hard to believe white men didn’t also play a major hand in this. They control Hollywood, including no doubt the financing for this movie and the dreadful Blonde. Let’s not let them off the hook.
Christina, that word doesn’t mean what you think it does. Just sayin.
What was that old hashtag? Solidarity is for white women? It’s true. It is probably elitist that Riseborough’s nomination is so controversial and unexpected. But it’s so obviously a bigger issue that WoC can’t even find a seat at the ‘elitism’ conversation table.
Ok this might be better said by someone who does not have the same agent as Riseborough and did not pull a little bit of this to get an Emmy nom. As the story goes, Showtime wanted to submit all the younger women on yellow jackets in supporting and all the older women in leads. Ricci or her agent balked and she got the nom. So maybe sit this one out
The main story has always been about how a white women with connections got a nom at the last minute while two equally deserving black women who had been nominated throughout the award season were suddenly out. Not one but both. So that on its face looks shady and then when you find out how non grass roots this was-yeah it reeks
Also as much as we may downplay it-these noms and award can help careers. Riseborough is already a well connected British actress with plenty of good credits. To someone like Danielle making a name for herself. This nomination meant a lot. So it is not just a victimless crime for want of a better term. It does matter in the realm.
Thank you for saying what this nomination would have meant for Danielle’s career.
Riseborough isn’t being accused of any wrong doing but it is still a really bad look for her. Maybe she should graciously withdraw her name? Nah she wouldn’t do that and it would possibly make things an even bigger shit show.
Can we please just call it a day and give the Oscar to Michelle Yeoh?
Who actually believes the competing side when they say the other side is a lock deal for an award? A few sure, but enough to tip the vote? Surely not? There’s gotta be more to this.
Eta: Sorry, wrong place for this comment.
Why are we going on about Riseborough and no one is discussing how Ana de Armas got a nomination?
What kind of campaigning happened there?
The beloved Brad Pitt happened there(beloved by the industry)
Oh the tears of White Women. This isn’t about her performance, I haven’t seen the movie, this is about White Women making the “playing field” uneven so they can get their way. It’s about them throwing the clout that we historically don’t have, around. I think she should be stripped of her nomination, just like that composer a few years ago. All the parties involved should be banned from Oscar voting and nominations for 5yrs. Nip it in the bud now, so someone doesn’t see this as a pathway to a nomination and tries this mess again.
Yes! This is what should happen, but won’t.
Really the Academy voting system seems like the main the problem. Maybe there is more than one problem but the way class 1 votes count more seems like the biggest issue. And budgets. To make it fair for everyone, the budgets would have to be standardized so everyone got the same amount to promote their award. I am sure Riseborough did not have as big a budget as some of the others. I don’t think we have to pit women against other women for talk about it. Surely it was the production company who orchestrated it. I mean yes she could have withdrawn her name but that might get her out on some kind of industry “difficult actress” list. I just don’t see studios agreeing to something like this. I just don’t think penalizing her is necessarily fair nor will it solve the problem either.
Tara,clearly the budget was not a problem for Andrea.White privilege at it finest was in her favor,and also lingering bias, unconscious or not, within the industry.
The main instigator was the Director’s wife, Mary McCormack and then Frances Fischer putting out stuff on IG trying to stack the deck.
@ Mel 💯
@Tara the number of African-Americans with outstanding performances who havent been nominated not to mention small number winning an Oscar is criminal and should embarrass the Academy. That’s the main issue.
Yes I agree. I just don’t think banning Riseborough gets us to a solution. It would allow the Academy to scapegoat her instead of making real changes that are anti racist
This is what we know:
-the processus of nominations is rigged and it would be good if there is an external audition of the system…one can hope
-these nominations are clearly also a popularity contest cause how can Michelle Williams always nominated even when she appears 25 min in a 2 hr movie? We know if Cate B,Meryl S or Michelle W have a movie:they all will be nominated…
-but also when a white woman needed a pull,she just also has only to gather a bunch of her friends and Voilà…
– why in order to promote AR,her team has to isolate two black actresses and say they are a lock especially Danielle who is a newcomer?
Do you think Danielle will have the same opportunities than AR? Without putting their credentials in balance,there are certainly more roles for white women than for Woc…
I don’t think that AR nomination should be rescinded …I am just deeply disappointed
Andrea’s performance is good, she is a great actress underrated. The ones who stole those nominations were Ana de Armas and Michell Williams. I like Michell’s work in general but her performance in TF is bad, not to mention Ana’s accent.
I still can’t get over the fact that Alfre Woodard wasn’t nominated for Clemency, she must have swept the awards that season.
Listen, Cate Blanchette and Micehelle Yeoh make sense. After that, Michelle Williams, Ana de armas, and Andrea Riseborough did not have performances that were any better than Viola Davis and Danielle deadwyler’s were. I’ve said it before, but if a white woman had played the role of a grieving woman who advocates for her brutally murdered son’s Justice , she would have an award. If a white woman played a female leader and warrior, she would have an award. Come on.
I saw To Leslie at the weekend and Andrea Riseborough absolutely deserves the nomination. It is Michelle Williams who should not be on the list. Maybe supporting but definitely not lead actress. I haven’t seen Blonde so can’t comment on Ana’s nom.
Again, I haven’t seen the movie so I can’t comment on the performance, but this is about White Women using the clout and the connections that we don’t have to manipulate the ballot for someone they favor. What Mary McCormack and Frances Fisher did IS elitist.
Riseborough deserves to be nominated though. Michelle Williams and Ana de Armas do not.
But I guess they campaigned properly so all’s good??
The Oscars is a popularity contest or who is willing to spend the most money.
I wonder why the actors union never nominated her for a SAG…?
I suspect a lot of the actors promoting her never even watched her film but were called for help.
The distributors never submitted the film to the guilds. This rendered her ineligible for most of the big awards.
The post title caused my brain to hurt. Reading that Ricci feels that a very well established actress and her formulaic poverty porn Oscar baity film that was made by very well connected people is the victim of some sort of “elitism” caused some sort of brain fuse to blow. Wednesday seems a tiny bit out of touch.