‘To Leslie’ Oscars controversy, defined

Only a few years after awarding Greatest Image to the improper film(Opens in a brand new window), we would see a shock nomination get revoked earlier than the Oscars air on March 12.

When the Academy Awards nominations have been introduced final week, one of many extra stunning revelations was that Andrea Riseborough had been nominated for her position in To Leslie. If you have not heard of To Leslie, don’t be concerned; the movie garnered lower than $30,000 on the field workplace. It is a small impartial manufacturing a few single mom who wins the lottery, and plenty of huge Hollywood names like Edward Norton and Kate Winslet publicly endorsed the movie in a grassroots marketing campaign in the course of the Oscars voting interval.


First-time performing nominees dominate the 2023 Oscars nominations

That is all properly and good, proper? In spite of everything, field workplace success has nothing to do with the standard of a movie or the performances therein. Nonetheless, in response to the Academy, one thing may be awry about the entire state of affairs. Per Deadline(Opens in a brand new window), the group launched an announcement asserting a evaluate of the nomination course of on Friday. It did not identify Riseborough or To Leslie instantly, however everybody appears to agree that is what the assertion is about:

It’s the Academy’s purpose to make sure that the Awards competitors is performed in a good and moral method, and we’re dedicated to making sure an inclusive awards course of.

We’re conducting a evaluate of the marketing campaign procedures round this 12 months’s nominees, to make sure that no pointers have been violated, and to tell us whether or not modifications to the rules could also be wanted in a brand new period of social media and digital communication.

We’ve confidence within the integrity of our nomination and voting procedures, and assist real grassroots campaigns for excellent performances.

It is unclear what, if any, guidelines have been damaged right here. The Academy has a lengthy listing of pointers(Opens in a brand new window) for the nomination course of, however that does not present a smoking gun. Per Self-importance Truthful(Opens in a brand new window), some Academy voters have been contacted with the suggestion that they watch the film and assist it on-line, which might theoretically breach the Academy’s lobbying guidelines.

For reference, Academy Awards nominations can be revoked, however it’s uncommon. The handful of instances it is occurred have often concerned one thing just like the movie premiering on TV earlier than it was in theaters, or a movie popping out within the improper 12 months. Most related to To Leslie‘s case is {that a} Greatest Unique Music nomination was revoked(Opens in a brand new window) in 2014 as a result of songwriter Bruce Broughton had emailed Academy members in the course of the voting interval.

The Academy will meet on Tuesday, however Self-importance Truthful additionally reported {that a} rescinded nomination is unlikely.

Except for the stunning nature by which To Leslie discovered its manner into Oscars historical past, there are different angles to the controversy. As identified within the Self-importance Truthful report, Riseborough (who’s white) obtained nominated whereas Black actresses in higher-profile roles like Viola Davis in The Lady King or Danielle Deadwyler in Until have been not noted. For an establishment with a notable historical past of snubbing Black ladies(Opens in a brand new window) particularly, it is easy to see why some wouldn’t be completely happy about Riseborough’s nomination from that perspective.

Some folks might additionally really feel that To Leslie is being unfairly punished for the crime of not being mainstream sufficient. It is receiving a degree of scrutiny that greater movies have not needed to fear about, despite the fact that there is a lengthy, well-reported historical past(Opens in a brand new window) of film studios partaking in backroom politicking throughout awards season.

No matter the place you land on To Leslie‘s nomination, at the very least those that care extra about Oscars drama than the precise awards have one thing to care about once more this 12 months.

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