A display of Oscar statues.

If These Memes Are To Be Believed, the Academy Has a Lot of Investigating To Do

Andrea Riseborough’s Best Actress Oscar nomination is proving to be this awards season’s biggest upset. Riseborough’s surprise nomination for her performance in a film called To Leslie seemed to come out of nowhere, the apparent result of an aggressive PR campaign pushing the film via celebrity tweets.

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The campaign’s success has turned attention to a number of issues, from the ethics of PR campaigns masquerading as grassroots support (especially as it compares to the traditional, widely accepted method of funneling millions of dollars into a campaign) to the ways in which institutional racism plays out in the entertainment industry. It’s now also looking like Riseborough’s Oscar campaign might have been an outright violation of Academy rules.

The Academy has a rule against “lobbying,” which states: “Contacting Academy members directly and in a manner outside of the scope of these rules to promote a film or achievement for Academy Award consideration is expressly forbidden.”

According to Puck News, “the mastermind of the effort” to get Riseborough nominated was actor Mary McCormack, who is married to To Leslie’s director Michael Morris and who also shares a manager with Riseborough. The outlet says they were “relentless in soliciting support.”

The Los Angeles Times also says that McCormack and Morris “contacted nearly every one” of their famous contacts, “requesting their friends watch the movie and, if they liked it, spread the word.”

The Academy has declined to comment but Puck’s Matthew Belloni, “I’m told the Academy is looking at this issue, and that it will likely be raised at the board of governors meeting on Tuesday.”

Obviously, everyone has varying opinions as to whether the amount of attention being focused on this campaign is overblown or deeply necessary. (At the very least it really seems like the Academy needs to reassess what constitutes “lobbying”!)

Nonetheless, if the Academy is taking up the issue and having a meeting about it anyway, Twitter has some ideas for other oversights and various awards-related crimes to add to their docket:

OK, that one deserves to be up for discussion twice:

What egregious oversights would you like to see the board of governors discuss at this alleged Tuesday meeting?

(featured image: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)


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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.