‘To Leslie’ nod prompts Academy to review Oscar campaign procedures

The Academy said it would conduct a review to “make sure there were no violations of policy” and decide whether to make the change in the digital age.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is officially taking a closer look at this year’s nominees’ Oscar campaign after the viral grassroots push that surprisingly landed “To Leslie” star Andrea Riseborough in the best actress nomination has grown.

While the campaign team behind the Momentum Pictures release, which stars the British actress as a strung-out lottery winner trying to rebuild her life, have so far appeared to not be breaking the campaign guidelines themselves, some of the tactics they’ve employed, such as emailing members of the Academy directly sent to help lobby for the film is frowned upon.

There is also the perception that Riseborough’s inclusion in the category comes at the cost of excluding two black actresses in films directed by black women from the Oscar race: Viola Davis (“The Queen”) and Danielle Deadwyler (“Until”). Both the actresses and their films have pursued more traditional Oscar campaigns in recent months.

“The Academy’s goal is to ensure that the awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner, and we are committed to ensuring an inclusive awards process,” the Academy said in an official statement, a nod to its ongoing diversity efforts. in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite scandal that plagued the 2015 and 2016 acting nominations.

Referring to the nature of how certain parties have evangelized “To Leslie” on platforms such as Instagram, as first reported Puck NewsAccording to the Academy’s statement, “We are reviewing the campaign procedures for this year’s candidates to ensure that the guidelines have not been violated, and to inform you whether the guidelines may need to be changed in the new age of social media and the digital world. communication.”

So far, the only possible violation of Academy rules has come from actress Frances Fisher, who suggested in an Instagram post that other voters placed Riseborough in the Best Actress voting because Davis and Deadwyler were “a lock” alongside Michelle Yeoh and Cate Blachett. who were finally nominated with their works “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “TÁR”.

Arguing that the move violates a rule that prohibits anyone associated with an eligible film from highlighting the “competition” by name or title in a campaign posting is expressly prohibited. The question, however, is to what extent Fisher is connected to the “To Leslie” awards campaign.

Ultimately, it doesn’t look like the investigation will cause a dramatic change in the Best Actress nominees, such as forcing Oscar voters to recount, but the successful campaign to nominate Riseborough is a reminder for the Academy to review how their rules apply to social life. media posts. An Instagram from Academy President Janet Yang praising Yeoh’s performance in the hit A24 also caused quite a stir among voters until the executive quickly deleted it, so this kind of issue was on the mind even before this year’s Oscar nominations were announced. .

With the Academy’s Board of Governors meeting scheduled for Tuesday, the organization ends its statement on an optimistic note: “We trust the integrity of our nomination and voting processes and support genuine grassroots campaigns for outstanding achievement.”

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