Paul Schrader is publicly standing by Andrea Riseborough’s “To Leslie” Best Actress nomination.
The “First Reformed” writer-director shared on Facebook that he is casting his Oscars ballot for Riseborough against fellow Best Actress nominees Cate Blanchett (“TÁR”), Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”), and Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”).
“She’s got my vote,” Schrader captioned a photo of Riseborough. “Go ahead, investigate me.”
After controversy over Riseborough’s late-breaking, heavily celebrity-backed campaign, the Academy launched an investigation into this year’s Oscar lobbying last week. But on Tuesday during an Academy meeting, top brass stood by the validity of Riseborough’s nomination, which it will not rescind, but will unveil updates to campaign rules soon.
“We did discover social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern,” Academy CEO Bill Kramer said. “These tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly.”
“To Leslie” made $27,000 in theaters, making it among the lowest-grossing films to ever receive an Oscar nomination. Riseborough plays an alcoholic and former lottery winner in the drama. The team behind “To Leslie” directly emailed Academy members to lobby for the film’s inclusion on the ballot, and reports of Instagram campaigns have also been cited. However, neither tactic is distinctly against Academy voter rules.
A-listers like Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron, Amy Adams, Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Paulson, Edward Norton, and Jane Fonda publicly supported Riseborough’s grassroots campaign to land a Best Actress Oscar nomination.
Christina Ricci later took to Instagram to publicly criticize the Academy’s investigation into Riseborough’s campaign, calling it an “elitist” inquisition.
“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. “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 noted that Riseborough’s Oscar nomination “will be tainted by this” investigation, and added that she has “nothing to do with the campaigning” by speaking out.
Riseborough told Deadline that even she is “astounded” by the nomination. “It was so hard to believe it might ever happen because we really hadn’t been in the running for anything else,” the actress said. “Even though we had a lot of support, the idea it might actually happen seemed so far away.”
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