"To Leslie" Instagram Post Referencing Cate Blanchett Could Be Factor in Academy Board Meeting
Following the surprise nomination of Andrea Riseborough for Best Actress in the independent drama "To Leslie," the Academy's review of campaign procedures is causing a buzz in the awards industry.
Following Andrea Riseborough's surprise Oscar nomination for Best Actress in the independent drama "To Leslie," the movie industry is buzzing that the Academy has "conducted a review of campaign procedures."Two weeks ago, the official Instagram account of "To Leslie" quoted Richard Roeper's blurb from his Top 10 Films of 2022 article in the Chicago Sun-Times. He listed the movie as No. 5. The quote said: "Although Blanchett's work is admirable in 'Tar', my favorite performance by an actress this year was by Andrea Riseborough in Michael Morris' evocative drama about a mother at the end of her life after she has lost everything to alcoholism. Ryan Binaco's insightful script and the fine supporting work of Marc Maron, Andre Royo, and Allison Janney, 'To Leslie' ranks alongside 'Leaving Las Vegas', 'Crazy Heart', and 'Crazy Heart' as modern-day classics about alcoholism."Variety was told by an actor member of the Academy Branch, "Let's just be fair during this process. It doesn't look good, but I don't want it to be too obvious. One violation doesn't mean the end of someone."This is ironic, considering Blanchett publicly referred to Riseborough, Tang Wei, and Penelope Cruz when she won the Critics Choice Award for Best Actor earlier this month.Frances Fisher, an actor who was vocal in her support for Riseborough's campaign, also quoted Roeper's story but misrepresented it. She stated, "Richard Roeper selected Andrea Riseborough at #5 of 10 for Best Actress." In the post, she also said, "There are wonderful actresses running, fortunately backed by multimillion dollar ad campaigns...Acting branch - please watch 'To Leslie' on the Academy Screening Room App - once you do, you'll understand why I'm talking."Apart from the social media questions, there have been claims that representatives are reaching out directly to Academy members in order to solicit votes. Although the Academy's regulations apply to For Your Consideration (FYC) communications to members, they are very broad and will need to be revised in the future.The Academy allows solicitations through its approved mailing houses. Variety can confirm that FYC email blasts were sent to members by the awards campaign for "To Leslie", which was used to invite them to screenings and Q&As. There is no evidence that Riseborough or any other member of her team reached out directly to AMPAS voters asking for their support.The Academy's email blasts are $2,000 each to all Academy members. This is a very expensive price for a self-funded campaign. A studio can only buy one e-mail blast per day. Variety can confirm that "To Leslie" sent at most three e-mail blasts to AMPAS voters. These would have been purchased either by Momentum Pictures, Riseborough's campaign team, Narrative PR, or Shelter PR.Nine nominations have been withdrawn throughout the Academy's 95-year history for various reasons. This includes Charlie Chaplin's film "The Circus", which was shown at the Academy's first ceremony in 1928. The most recent appearance of Greg Russell, who was disqualified for the Best Sound Mixing for "13 Hours" (2016), is also included.