Academy Won't Rescind Andrea Riseborough's 'To Leslie' Oscar Nomination Amid Controversy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will not rescind Andrea Riseborough's Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in To Leslie. However, the organization said it would review the campaign tactics that led to the surprise nomination. Riseoborough won critical acclaim and praise from her colleagues across Hollywood, but the lack of awareness of To Leslie in the weeks before the Oscar nominations was announced led to scrutiny of the grassroots campaign.

Back on Jan. 27, the Academy said it would review campaign procedures to "ensure no guidelines were violated." After the board of governors met on Tuesday, they decided Riseborough would not lose her nomination. Still, they weren't happy about the role social media played.

"Based on concerns that surfaced last week around the To Leslie awards campaign, the Academy began a review into the film's campaigning tactics," Academy CEO Bill Kramer said in a statement to Variety. "The Academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film's nomination should be rescinded.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."

After their review, Kramer said it was "apparent" that parts of the campaign regulations needed to 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," Kramer wrote. "The Academy strives to create an environment where votes are based solely on the artistic and technical merits of the eligible films and achievements."

Although Riseborough earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for To Leslie, there was very little awareness of the independent drama directed by Michael Morris. The film had its debut at SXSW in March 2022 and was released to theaters in October by Momentum Pictures. It grossed less than $28,000 at the box office. However, during the week of Oscar voting, suddenly, major stars began publicly supporting the film. Some stars even posted tweets about the film that were almost identical.

A since-deleted Instagram post published on the To Leslie Instagram page was singled out as a possible violation of campaign rules. The included an excerpt from critic Richard Roeper's Top 10 films of the year list, which compared Riseborough's performance to Cate Blanchett's Oscar-nominated turn in Tar. Variety noted that this could be seen as a violation of a campaign rule that bans references to other nominees. (Coincidentally, Blanchett praised Riseborough's performance at the Critics Choice Awards.)

Riseborough, 41, has been acting in major films since 2006 and even starred in the 2014 Best Picture winner Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Known for her ability to completely transform into a character for her roles, Riseoborough's other credits include Mandy, Battle of the Sexes, Nocturnal Animals, W.E., Matilda the Musical, and the Black Mirror episode "Crocodile." In To Leslie, she plays a West Texas single mother who becomes an alcoholic after using up prize money from a lottery win. The other Best Actress nominees at the 95th Oscars are Blanchett (Tar), Ana de Armas (Blonde), Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans), and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once).