Andrea Riseborough’s Oscar: Brandon Cronenberg has weight

Riseborough’s cheeky Oscar nomination for “To Leslie” follows a celebrity-backed grassroots voting campaign.

Andrea Riseborough is officially a 2023 Oscar nominee after a surprising and seemingly last-minute Oscars marketing campaign backed by A-listers including Kate Winslet, Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett and Gwyneth Paltrow.

After grossing just $27,000 in its October release from Momentum Pictures, the drama “To Leslie” earned Riseborough his first Oscar nod after previous films such as “Mandy,” “Nocturnal Animals” and “Birdman “. Riseborough stars as an alcoholic Texas single mother who squanders her lottery winnings in Michael Morris’s TV directorial debut. The show nominated Riseborough for Best Actress in 2023 alongside Blanchett (“THE LIBRARY”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”), Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once” ).

Riseborough said Deadline that even he is “impressed” by the nomination. “It was so hard to believe it could ever happen because we really didn’t have a chance at anything else,” the actress said. “Even though we had a lot of support, the idea that it could happen seemed so far away.”

She was previously nominated for Best Actress at the Film Independent Spirit Awards and this year also starred in ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical’.

Infinity Pool helmer Brandon Cronenberg, who directed him in 2020’s The Owner, now explores Riseborough’s rise to the 2023 Oscars and what it means for the future of independent films.

“I’m excited about it. I’m not just saying that because I know her: I think she’s one of the best working actresses right now,” Cronenberg told IndieWire’s Eric Kohn. “I don’t think he’s gotten enough recognition for his work in the past, so it’s fantastic.”

Cronenberg continued: “It’s strange from this side of the industry because, on the one hand, I don’t think these awards mean anything creatively, but someone like Andrea can go unrecognized for many years. However, I often don’t feel that the Best Picture films or Best Actor or Actress performances are the best performances of that year. It’s so subjective and deeply political because you have to launch a whole campaign and it has a lot to do with politics within the Academy. So I don’t think they necessarily represent the pinnacle of artistry – but ultimately it just affects you in terms of financing the film.”

So what does it mean if Riseborough and inherently ‘To Leslie’ wins?

“Now, if Andrea is attached to it and has an Oscar nomination or if she wins, it’s going to be huge for her career because I think the bottom line is that it makes her more visible in a way that makes financiers feel better about her.” Cronenberg said of Riseborough’s bankable indie-to-mainstream crossover ability. “They kind of intersect in an uncomfortable way, but somehow there’s no way around it.”

The indie filmmaker whispered, “I just need to win an Oscar and I’ll be fine.”

Reporting by Eric Kohn.

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