Andrea Riseborough Calls Debate Surrounding Her Oscar Nomination 'Necessary': 'I Want to Listen'

"I'm mindful not to speak for the experience of other people because they are better placed to speak, and I want to listen," Andrea Riseborough said

Andrea Riseborough attends The BAFTA Tea Party at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 14, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Andrea Riseborough. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage

Andrea Riseborough is addressing the debate surrounding her Oscar nomination.

On Wednesday, the To Leslie actress — whose nomination sparked "a review of the campaign procedures around this year's nominees" by the Academy — told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview that her experience since receiving the nomination has been "confusing."

The actress wrote in an email to THR that she is "coming to terms with what the nomination means, for me and for others."

"It not only makes sense that this conversation would be sparked, but it is necessary," the actress, 41, wrote of commentary surrounding this year's Oscars, after Danielle Deadwyler (Till) and Viola Davis (The Woman King) were not nominated for Best Actress despite receiving several other lead-up nods and being considered possible shoo-ins.

"The film industry is abhorrently unequal in terms of opportunity," Riseborough told THR in an email. "I'm mindful not to speak for the experience of other people because they are better placed to speak, and I want to listen."

Riseborough also told the outlet that it's "wonderful" To Leslie is "getting seen.... When any of us engage in anything, we want for that piece of work to be absorbed in some way. You can't control how people absorb it."

Even as the campaign for her nomination got underway and received heavy media attention in the days leading up to the nominations on Jan. 24, Riseborough said "the very realistic part of me that has been doing this for 20 years" did not believe she would get nominated.

"I don't think that you dare to allow yourself to imagine that that would happen to something that you shot in 19 days," she said of the film, which grossed only $27,000 in movie theaters upon its release.

Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie
Momentum Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

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After Riseborough received her Oscar nomination last month, the actress told Deadline that she was "astounded" by the news.

"It's such an unexpected ray of light," she said at the time. "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."

Prior to the nominations, most Oscars analysts hadn't predicted Riseborough as a frontrunner for a nomination (though she earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination), but a last-minute social media campaign with endorsements from celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Edward Norton boosted her during the voting period.

Then, on Jan. 27, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement that it would review its policies about campaigning and see if updates need to be made in the modern social media age. Days later, it announced on that the British actress will keep her nomination.

Andrea Riseborough Hollywood Reporter
Charolette Hadden for The Hollywood Reporter

"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 Academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film's nomination should be rescinded," Academy CEO Bill Kramer said in a statement. "However, we did discover social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern. These tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly."

"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."

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Earlier this month, Oscar-winner Davis, 57, wrote on Instagram about the situation.

She said: "Allyship = Active support for the rights of a marginalized group without being a member of it. THIS is what's missing. Whether it be a 'grassroots' campaign spearheaded by peers or multi-million industry dollars backing one, we rarely are the benefactors. If you see my work you also have to see our plight and either contribute to it or hinder it. I stand in solidarity with Gina Prince-Bythewood and all artists of color who continue to work, create, thrive despite our environment. I will hope....always."

The 95th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will be held March 12 and televised live on ABC.

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