Oscars 2023: Andrea Riseborough wins a surprise nomination

Oscars 2023: Andrea Riseborough wins a surprise nomination

Andrea Riseborough, star of “To Leslie,” was one of the frontrunners in Tuesday’s field of nominees for the 95th Academy Awards. But for those who have been checking out celebrity social media accounts, her nod isn’t all that surprising.

The English actor, who also starred in last year’s star-studded film “Amsterdam” and previously in “Mandy,” “Birdman,” “WE” and “Nocturnal Animals,” was nominated Tuesday alongside Cate Blanchett (“Tár”) , Ana de Armas (“Blonde”), Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”).

Riseborough, 41, takes a searing turn as the titular addict trying to break free of her demons in Michael Morris’ debut film. She wins the lottery and then she spends the money. “For Leslie” she begins seven years after that unfortunate victory of hers, when she is evicted from the motel in which she has been living.

The indie film has flown under the radar since its March premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival and grossed just $27,000 in its brief theatrical run.

The awards campaign for the underdog film was a bittersweet grassroots affair, lasting only a few weeks. But a star-studded social media campaign drew enough big names — Susan Sarandon, Zooey Deschanel, Melanie Lynskey, Alan Cumming, Rosie O’Donnell, even Howard Stern — that they bolstered Riseborough. And it was successful enough to propel it to the top of the ballots of many Oscar voters, launching the film and its star of darkness onto the world’s biggest movie stage.

Voting actors rank their fellow actors, and Riseborough must have received plenty of first-place votes to enter the lead actress category on Tuesday. (She also earned a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination in November for the role of her and a handful of other nominations, but she was snubbed when the Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced earlier this month.)

But the star had enough influential A-listers in his corner. Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow shared on Instagram earlier this month that she saw a screening of “For Leslie,” called the film “a masterpiece” and said Riseborough “should win every award there is and every that have not yet been invented. .”

Similarly, Edward Norton went off the mark by posting about a movie he loved on social media, tweeting“[F]or those interested in a really good performance, I’ll share that Andrea Riseborough’s performance in ‘To Leslie’ blew me away. This is the most emotionally deep, physically harrowing, engaging performance I’ve seen in a long time. Just raw and completely devoid of performative BS.”

More stars weighed in after that, including Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Demi Moore, Jamie Lee Curtis and Bradley Whitford, according to a handy tracker kept by the @FilmUpdates Twitter account. And “Tár” star Blanchett thanked Riseborough during her fiery Critics Choice Awards acceptance speech that she took aim at the “patriarchal pyramid.”

And four hours before nomination voting closed Tuesday, six-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams led a virtual conversation with Riseborough to support the latter’s role in the film. According to Glenn Whipp of The Times, the word “unbelievable” was used at least a dozen times, and not without justification.

“Adams’ endorsement followed a similar event moderated by Kate Winslet, who gushed: ‘You should be up for anything. You should be winning everything. Andrea Riseborough, I think this is the best female performance on screen I’ve ever seen,’” Whipp wrote.

Times Staff Writer Glenn Whipp contributed to this report.

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