Report: Academy Is Reviewing Andrea Riseborough’s Oscar Campaign After Black Actresses Shut Out

Momentum Pictures

Did the unconventional Oscar campaign that netted British star Andrea Riseborough a surprise Best Actress nomination this week violate Academy rules?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is looking into the matter, following growing complaints that Riseborough’s nomination came at the expense of black actresses who were shut out of the category.

Oscar officials released a statement Friday saying the Academy was conducting a review of the campaign procedures around this year’s nominees, though they did not mention Andrea Riseborough by name.

The statement comes after Puck News reported that the Academy is reviewing Riseborough’s Oscar campaign to determine if it broke any rules.

“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,” the Academy said.

“We have confidence in the integrity of our nomination and voting procedures, and support genuine grassroots campaigns for outstanding performances.”

As Breitbart News reported, Riseborough is facing accusations of “white privilege” for her last-minute campaign that relied on a host of celebrity friends to promote her performance in the little-seen indie drama To Leslie. Stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, and Frances Fisher all helped Riseborough cross the finish line.

Some critics have accused Riseborough of taking the slot that might have gone to a black actress, including favorites Daniel Deadwyler for Till and Viola Davis for The Woman King.

The Academy rules are often vague about what constitutes “lobbying,” which is forbidden, versus merely promoting a performance through special screenings and meet-and-greets, which are perennial staples of Oscar season.

Much attention will likely be given to an email reportedly sent by Riseborough’s manager, Jason Weinberg, entreating other celebrities to promote his client via social media.

“If you’re willing to post every day between now and Jan 17th, that would be amazing! But anything is helpful, so please do whatever makes you comfortable. And what’s more comfortable than posting about a movie every day!”  he reportedly wrote.

The email may have crossed the line into “lobbying,” though it remains unclear if Academy officials will see it that way. In 2014, composer Bruce Broughton had his Oscar nomination rescinded after the Academy determined he had lobbied voters via email.

A since-deleted post on To Leslie‘s official Instagram account is also drawing attention because it specifically references a competing performer, which is forbidden by the Academy’s campaigning rules.

As Variety reported, the Instagram post quoted film critic Richard Roeper, who wrote: “As much as I admired [Cate] Blanchett’s work in Tár, my favorite performance by a woman this year was delivered by the chameleonlike Andrea Riseborough in director Michael Morris’ searing drama about a mom at the final crossroads in her life after she’s lost everything due to her drinking.”

In 2010, The Hurt Locker producer Nicolas Chartier was barred from attending the Oscar ceremony after the Academy found that he had disparaged a competing film while soliciting votes. But his nomination was not rescinded.

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