On Friday, Jan. 27, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it’s conducting a “review of campaign procedures” after Andrea Riseborough’s surprise best actress nomination for the indie film “To Leslie.” Although the film isn’t mentioned directly in the Academy’s statement, the review is reportedly in response to the movie’s Hollywood-backed grassroots Oscars campaign. In the wake of the news, actor Christina Ricci is calling out the Oscars for being “elitist” when it comes to its campaign procedures.
Per Variety, the Academy’s official statement notes the review is 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.” (POPSUGAR reached out to the Academy for comment on the review but did not receive an immediate response.)
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.
In the wake of the announcement, Ricci is condemning 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. “It 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 is rescinded, her spot in the category will not be replaced. In the history of the Oscars, only nine nominations have ever been rescinded.
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