Christina Ricci Calls Out Oscars "To Leslie" Review
Christina Ricci Blasts the Oscars For Reviewing Andrea Riseborough's Best Actress Nomination
Andrea Riseborough's best actress nomination is safe, despite the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences conducting a "review of campaign procedures" after the actor's surprise nomination for the indie film "To Leslie." Although the film wasn't mentioned directly in the Academy's initial statement, the review was in response to the movie's Hollywood-backed grassroots Oscars campaign. In the wake of the news, actor Christina Ricci called out the Oscars for being "elitist" when it comes to its campaign procedures.
On Jan. 31, the Academy shared a statement from its CEO Bill Kramer with POPSUGAR detailing the outcome of the review. "Based on concerns that surfaced last week around the TO LESLIE awards campaign, the Academy began a review into the film's campaigning tactics," the statement reads. "The Academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film's nomination should be rescinded.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."
Kramer continued, "The purpose of the Academy's campaign regulations is to ensure a fair and ethical awards process — these are core values of the Academy. Given this review, it is apparent that components of the regulations must 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. The Academy strives to create an environment where votes are based solely on the artistic and technical merits of the eligible films and achievements."
Riseborough was nominated after her Hollywood peers hosted private screenings of "To Leslie" and campaigned for her via social media. Among those who supported the actor are her fellow best actress nominee Cate Blanchett, Jane Fonda, Charlize Theron, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Courteney Cox, Edward Norton, Jennifer Aniston, and Minnie Driver. But per Vanity Fair, there was speculation in Hollywood that the campaigning may have violated the Academy's lobbying rules.
A representative for the Academy previously shared their initial statement with POPSUGAR. It noted the review was in part a response to the way films are campaigning in the digital age. "It is the Academy's goal to ensure that the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner, and we are committed to ensuring an inclusive awards process," the statement reads. "We are conducting a review of the campaign procedures around this year's nominees, to ensure that no guidelines were violated, and to inform us whether changes to the guidelines may be needed in a new era of social media and digital communication. We have confidence in the integrity of our nomination and voting procedures, and support genuine grassroots campaigns for outstanding performances."
In the wake of the announcement, Ricci called out the Academy for tainting Riseborough's reputation and perpetuating a system that tends to primarily honor films backed by big-budget, studio-funded award-season campaigns. "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," she commented on Variety's Instagram post about the news. "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."
Ricci continued, "And I'm sure she had nothing to do with the campaigning. These things aren't controlled and decided by the actors themselves and yet now her nomination will be tainted by this. And if it's taken away shame on them."
After the Oscar nominations were announced, Riseborough spoke with Deadline about how shocked she was to hear her name called. "I'm astounded," she said. "It's such an unexpected ray of light. It was so hard to believe it might ever happen because we really hadn't been in the running for anything else. Even though we had a lot of support, the idea it might actually happen seemed so far away . . . I'm not entirely sure how the f*ck this happened."
If Riseborough's nomination had been rescinded, her spot in the category would not have been replaced. In the history of the Oscars, only nine nominations have ever been rescinded.