Andrea Riseborough: The industry ‘is abhorrently unequal in terms of opportunity’

There were questions about whether Andrea Riseborough would end up Oscar-campaigning whatsoever now that she’s nominated. Here’s the answer – she is. Andrea covers this week’s issue of the Hollywood Reporter, and this is her first interview since she was surprisingly nominated for Best Actress for her role in To Leslie. The campaign for Andrea clearly broke some of AMPAS’s rules, and there was a quickie investigation and nothing came of it beyond a promise to update some of the social media rules for campaigns. Andrea clearly had the backing of a who’s who of powerful white women in Hollywood, many of whom were spurred on by Mary McCormack (who is married to the director of To Leslie). This THR piece revealed something I didn’t know though – that Andrea’s agent was involved in the Oscar-campaign shenanigans too. Oh, and I learned that To Leslie was only a 19-day shoot! For goodness sake. In this interview, Andrea just tries to keep it low-key, but yeah… she and Ana de Armas shouldn’t have been nominated, I’ll just say that. Some highlights:

Whether she’s happy about her Oscar nom: “I don’t know what I know. I think once I have time to process everything, I might understand it a bit better. It’s been confusing. And it’s wonderful the film’s getting seen. I suppose it’s a really bright ray of light. When any of us engage in anything, we want for that piece of work to be absorbed in some way. You can’t control how people absorb it.”

Reading the ‘To Leslie’ script: “Sometimes you read something and you think, ‘Oh, this is that one important story for them.’ That was clear on the page. It was a celebration of somebody — in all of the glorious and horrible moments.” It called to mind some of her favorite films — gritty, character-driven pieces from the early 1970s like Wanda and The Panic in Needle Park. “Those magical pieces of cinema that, even when you get to the end of the film, leave you completely hanging and aren’t necessarily conclusive in any way.”

No money for marketing: With virtually no marketing spend from Momentum, the critical darling — ]To Leslie’ currently boasts a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating — sank like a rock. “It’s always disappointing when traction is not capitalized on,” says Riseborough. Marc Maron is less diplomatic in his assessment: “There was no possibility of any more visibility because this distributor was awful and remained awful.”

The campaign: Behind the scenes, Riseborough reps and publicists mounted a grassroots awards gambit on her behalf. Also key to the effort was Jason Weinberg, who manages both Riseborough’s and McCormack’s acting careers and who has guided many other starry clients — including Penélope Cruz, Christina Ricci, Jean Smart and Connie Britton — to awards. The microbudget campaign, self-financed by Riseborough and Morris, had no money for billboards, bus or trade ads but covered the $20,000 fee to screen the movie on the Academy website.

Everything amped up while Riseborough went to Budapest to film ‘Lee’: Meanwhile, Morris, McCormack and Weinberg spent the normally dead weeks around the holidays plundering their Rolodexes. “We think you will love it,” went one email blast from McCormack. “We feel so strongly about beautiful films being seen whether or not they have millions and millions to spend on publicity.”

Whether or not she believed she would get the Oscar nom: “There was a lot of chatter beforehand in those few days leading up to [the nomination]. But the very realistic part of me that has been doing this for 20 years didn’t think this would happen. I don’t think that you dare to allow yourself to imagine that that would happen to something that you shot in 19 days.”

Marc Maron on Riseborough’s nom: “I was thrilled. I was thrilled for her, and I was thrilled for the movie. It’s upsetting in retrospect that this experience has to be so loaded and toxic and challenged. A few highly paid consultants for big-money campaigns for big studios got blindsided and then started a bunch of sh-t. Andrea, she’s in it for the work, dude. I mean, if that’s not clear from this woman’s career — that she’s the real deal and she does it for the work — then you’re not looking at her correctly. But now that she’s targeted and at the center of this fake controversy, I hope it works in her favor.”

After the backlash, Riseborough tried a new talking point: She says she is “coming to terms with what the nomination means, for me and for others.” Of the debate her nomination has elicited, she writes, “It not only makes sense that this conversation would be sparked, but it is necessary. The film industry is abhorrently unequal in terms of opportunity. I’m mindful not to speak for the experience of other people because they are better placed to speak, and I want to listen.” Regarding the impact the controversy has had on her campaign, she says: “I am grateful for the conversation because it must be had. It has deeply impacted me.”

[From THR]

Part of me actually feels sorry for her because I’m pretty sure she never meant to take Viola’s place or take Danielle’s place. In Andrea’s mind, she was promoting an indie film she was proud of, and she was happy that so many powerful people were screening it. That being said, it’s hard to see how her Oscar nomination doesn’t have an asterisk, regardless of whatever tone-deaf sh-t Marc Maron says. This wasn’t just highly-paid consultants getting mad that their clients weren’t Oscar-nominated, this was yet another example of white folks exclusively supporting other white folks. Where were Charlize, Gwyneth, Cate and Helen Hunt when it came time to host screenings or post about The Woman King or Till? Maron is doing Riseborough no favors, just as Mary McCormack did her no favors.

Cover courtesy of THR, additional photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red, ‘To Leslie’.

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33 Responses to “Andrea Riseborough: The industry ‘is abhorrently unequal in terms of opportunity’”

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  1. Arizona says:

    this is so embarrassing for her lol. also I think Michelle Williams is the other one that shouldn’t have been nominated. Blonde was a really terrible movie but Ana was excellent in it.

    • SAS says:

      Yeah, if they’re fighting for spots Ana deserves the nom, Michelle Williams doesn’t.

      Gosh, I am a MAJOR defender that everyone can suit a short haircut but this is not the one for Andrea.

  2. Marisol says:

    That cover shot must have been chosen by an enemy of hers.

    • BrainFog 💉💉💉😷 says:

      Right? It’s offensively hideous. What were they thinking?

    • Meeghan Moth says:

      I think it is on purpose, they want her to look like she’s a real actress who doesn’t care about the vanities and all of the shiny things like how Frances McDormand. would look, it’s veryy calculated and the images need to be so from glossy hollywood, she’s basically playing another. role her, it’s like when someone going to court and want sympathy from the public, they go for this kind of stuff.

  3. Mazzie says:

    I found her comments weak. It’s clear she’s really trying to stay away from the issue of race. She even said that she’s listening.

    That’s all they ever do – listen. It’s more like they hear.

    • OriginalLeigh says:

      I really detest when White people say it’s not their place to speak on racism, when we all know that racism was created by and continues to be perpetuated by White people. People of Color having a one way dialogue about racism is not going to change anything because we are not the problem here. But it’s great that Andrea is just “listening” while continuing to benefit from white privilege.

    • Tessa says:

      Oh, here we go. For years you repeated like a mantra: stop speaking and just listen. As soon as someone says “I don’t want to speak for others, I want to listen”, that’s a bad thing, too.

      • Jules says:

        It’s more about: listen and then act on it. Also, when this is being said, it’s mainly about white women hogging the spotlight with talking points, hashtags and movements they basically ripped from Black women.

        Just saying “I only listen” but then not addressing how your own campaign snowballed into actively hurting Black women is not listening, it’s excusing.

      • tolly says:

        When a celebrity says this during an interview, it’s just a way to dodge a tough question. She’s not really listening.

      • Imara219 says:

        @Tessa I find it troubling when grown adults can discern what we mean by “don’t speak for others” or “now your place”. It’s giving obtuse. It’s giving I want a reason to sit in my subconscious biases with my arms crossed and feet tapping. It’s giving I want to put my fingers in my ears and disengage because I can’t control the situation and narrative. It’s quite simple really. Don’t talk over Black people when we are discussing issues specific to our community or culture; however, you can speak out against systematic racism and oppression because it’s your job as a white person to dismantle that system. As a privileged white woman, she has the power that other Black women do not; therefore, the onus to break the wheel of oppression rests with her.

      • Coco says:

        @ Tessa

        Stop just stop you don’t come off well here like at all.

  4. Scal says:

    I watched to Leslie over the weekend-she gives a great performance. If she hadn’t cheated I would have been behind that nom.Michelle Williams and Ana de armas were both absolute crap in comparison.

    I find it hilarious and full side eye-that a rich white Englishwoman with rich connected friends is complaining about opportunity. Hollywood was made for people like her

    • Annabeth Walrus says:

      YYup, especially White and British, they automatically get that ” I Am a Respectable, Real Actress like Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier” cards and they ALL use it lol

  5. TIFFANY says:

    Yeah Charlize making me arch a eyebrow her.

    I get on one hand who she showed support. Monster was the same way for her.

    On the other, she WORKED with Gina Prince Blythewood on The Old Guard and the sequel.

    Now, I get The Woman King was a moderate budget film with money for promotion, but on the other, Charlize had to know this would happen and didn’t even bother to throw any support behind the director who gave her her 1st hit in a long time. Huh.

    • JustStop says:

      I get your point, but did Gina ask Charlize to host a screening for Viola’s campaign? No one volunteers to host screenings/publicly champion other people for awards pre-nomination. They’re asked. If they’re not asked, they assume the person has it covered. It just seems kind of unfair to put this on Charlize if Gina didn’t ask for her help.

  6. Gm says:

    Charlize also has black kids. As a poc I hope people adopting kids of other races try to understand what it means.

  7. Nanea says:

    I’ve side-eyed this since it came out what exactly “grassroots campaign” meant in her case.

    But the despicable comments by Marc Maron and his very thinly veiled misogynoir attitude took this onto a whole new level.

  8. Coco says:

    They were better off leaving Marc Maron out of the interview he’s racism is showing.

    • Coco says:

      The fact that Andrea and Christina Ricci share the same publicist is the reason why Christina commented on this whole thing. I wonder if Christina wrote that comment her self or did her publicist sign her name to it sent it to the media.

      • Meaghan Moth says:

        yup, and Andrea also share same publicist w Michelle Yeoh, they gave poor Michelle the wrong advise to defend Andrea, i hope she’s not now losing votes because of that stupid PR advise, this game really is run by white people behind the scene and in front. SMH

  9. MissMarirose says:

    Marc Maron’s comment is a racist lie and should be called out as such. He’s trying to avoid the fact that the “backlash” to her nomination was a true BLACK (and WOC allies) grassroots movement, so he’s trying to build a (white, powerful male) strawman against whom to rail. It’s a lie. And it’s a lie specifically designed to erase Black voices.

  10. FHMom says:

    This situation is still bad and she’s never going to live it down. I don’t know if it’s possible to refuse a nomination, but if there is, she should have done that. Or like I said in a previous comment, if there are so many worthy performances, then the Academy should have expanded the category and nominated more women.

    • Imara219 says:

      I would at least respect Andrea Riseborough if she came out with a strong firm stance in support of the other Black actresses who are now shut out. Like she didn’t have to ignore or reject her nomination but it would at least acknowledge the problematic nature of how it was all handled.

  11. Emmi says:

    None of this is about her. Or Charlize. Or any of the other nominees. It’s about the whole damn system and why is nobody asking how a few calls and screenings managed to practically sweep two Black actresses to the side? Because Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler were absolutely being talked about a LOT and especially Danielle has been nominated for ALL THE AWARDS leading up to this. So voters suddenly decided oh shit, there’s a white woman who’s being supported by many other white people in this industry, I can’t not vote for her. I don’t believe for a second that they don’t know how this works and that this whole gross narrative of “Oh they’re a lock anyway” was a strategy and would result in this.

    I don’t know what role Riseborough played here but the fact that this happened the way it did is the problem. The interview isn’t great. She’s in her 40s, she should be ready to speak after listening.

    • RutH Beeggar says:

      Andrea already have her own PR team Narrative PR, I read. that at the last minutes, she hired the PR agency Shelter PR who is also Danielle’s PR agency to jump on this last minutes campaign, there is something shady there.

  12. Robert Phillips says:

    This whole thing isn’t proving that the Academy and the people in it are racist. We all already knew that. All this is proving is that the Academy is bought and paid for. That its all about money and power and nothing about excellence in filmaking. It’s all about keeping the big studios in charge. Nothing more.

  13. Lionel says:

    Personally, I think the larger scandal is that the AMPAS is a closed system whose voting members can be so easily influenced. I’ve always thought it absurd that a FYC ad in a trade paper might shift someone’s vote. A voting academy member ought to feel a responsibility to see all the submitted performances and vote for whomever they truly thought gave a stunning performance, not whomever has been sweeping earlier awards or whose studio puts the most money behind them. If a member can’t see all or most of the submitted performances, they should abstain from voting in that category. But no, the truth is that the Oscars are a farcical showcase of backroom deals and industry power.

  14. RutH Beeggar says:

    It’s all a mess and now she plays the. victim, she agreed to hire two super aggressive PR teams to pull these stunts, Mary Mccormack, the director’s wife clearly broke the. rules but doesn’t count as an. official person on the campaign. lol she’s screwing the director FFS lol Andrea is so talented but so as many more in and outside of Hollywood and. this desperation. to get the. trophies and the prestige is so not worth. it, look at Melissa Leo who also have the same. manager w Andrea, she won but in a bunch of crap movies now.

  15. Mark Moronn says:

    You know her team wants her to do this interviews because they need to clear some air so she can attend the Oscars, they made no money off of her on this movie but the real money is all the red carpet sponsorships from brands, jewels, watches, designers, make up, etc. but I wonder if brands would touch her now.