How a mysterious campaign earned the actress an Oscar nomination

Edward Norton posted online that he was blown away by “the most engaging, emotionally deep, physically harrowing performance I’ve seen in a while.” In her acceptance speech at the Critics’ Choice Awards, Cate Blanchett cited Riseborough’s performance.

Online praise for the film has come from Jennifer Aniston, Susan Sarandon, Zooey Deschanel, Amy Adams, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Catherine Keener, Geena Davis and Mira Sorvino.

Aniston, Norton, Charlize Theron, Courteney Cox and Demi Moore were among those who hosted screenings of the film. Kate Winslet, who hosted a virtual Q&A with Riseborough, called it “the greatest female performance on screen I’ve ever seen in my life.”

At a time when film distributors are paying award strategists to campaign for Oscar nominations, this was a grassroots campaign that paid off.

It marked a sudden rise to prominence for an English actress aged 41 who played Margaret Thatcher The Long Walk to FinchleyWallis Simpson in Madonnas WE and the daughter of the Soviet dictator The death of Stalin. She was in the movies never let Me Go, oblivion, birdman, Amsterdam and Matilda the musical and looks back on a long and successful career on television and on stage.

Andrea Riseborough in To Leslie.

Andrea Riseborough in To Leslie.Credit:momentum images

While the nomination received ample support online, it also drew racial criticism, as a white actress appeared to have tipped off one of two black actresses, Davis or Deadwyler.

Riseborough’s nomination proves that if a performance is strong enough, influential friends can garner enough Oscar voters to make a difference. After diversitythe campaign began in October when broadcaster Howard Stern, a friend of To Leslie Director Michael Morris (Better call Saul, 13 reasons why), saw the film and began promoting it on his radio show.

After Riseborough was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for the performance, The western wing Actress Mary McCormack built a campaign with the help of advertising firms Shelter PR and Narrative PR.

“This included emailing friends asking them to publicly support the film and Riseborough’s performance, even including pictures and suggested hashtags and accounts to tag in social media posts.” diversity wrote Marc Malkin.

Viola Davis in The Lady King.

Viola Davis in The Lady King.Credit:Ilze Kitshoff/Sony Pictures Entertainment

Riseborough tells Weekly entertainment that the campaign felt warm and encouraging.

“I felt so supported,” she said. “There’s nothing like being recognized by your community and within your industry.”

The chance to see how unforgettable this performance really is comes when To Leslie opens in Australian cinemas on March 9th – just before the Oscars on March 13th (AEDT).

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Jaclyn Diaz

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