Andrea Riseborough will hear her name called out at the Dolby Theatre on March 12 after all. The actor who received an Oscar nod for her turn as a former lottery winner fighting addiction in the not-widely-viewed indie film To Leslie won't have that nomination stripped, reports the New York Times. That had been feared by Riseborough fans as a possible outcome after a controversy sprung up over an aggressive online lobbying campaign by celebrities and others to get Riseborough's name on the ballot. In a statement, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chief Bill Kramer said that although certain "social media and outreach campaigning tactics" went too far, the group wasn't going to penalize Riseborough for it.
"The academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film's nomination should be rescinded," Kramer noted, adding that "these tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly." He said tweaks must be made "to help create a better framework for respectful, inclusive, and unbiased campaigning," and that those changes would be made after this year's Oscars have wrapped up, per the Washington Post. The outlet notes that although actors often laud their peers for performances, posts online about Riseborough's saw a sharp uptick in mid-January, around the time that Academy voting for the nominees kicks off.
And some big names went to bat for Riseborough, a British actor who before To Leslie was known for her roles in such films as Birdman and The Death of Stalin. Among those gushing: Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Norton, and Kate Winslet, who deemed Riseborough's performance "the greatest female performance on screen I have ever seen in my life," per the Times. Even Cate Blanchett, a fellow competitor in the best actress category, sung Riseborough's praises in a recent speech at the Critics Choice Awards.
Stars like podcaster Marc Maron and actor Christina Ricci also slammed the academy's review of this year's campaigning, with Ricci calling Riseborough's work a "legitimately brilliant performance," per EW.com. The efforts to lobby for Riseborough were said to have been largely organized by Mary McCormack—the wife of To Leslie director Michael Morris. The Times delves more here into what some of the campaigning concerns were, including a post by actor Frances Fisher that "raised eyebrows." (Read more Oscars stories.)