There may be hope for Andrea Riseborough to keep her Oscar nomination for “To Leslie,” considering a similar case that didn’t disqualify another surprise nominee from the past, Shohreh Aghdashloo.
In 2004, the Academy was riding a new voting schedule. It had come off implementing new rules for studio marketers that would take some of the negativity and vitriol out of the awards season. However, on Feb. 20, 2004, four days before the final Oscar voting deadline, a print ad in an issue of Daily Variety centered on Shohreh Aghdashloo’s powerful turn in “House of Sand and Fog” (2003).
The ad utilized four excerpts from print and TV news stories praising the supporting actress. Three of them referenced Renee Zellweger as the “will win” and Aghdashloo as the “should win.”
Bruce Davis, the Academy executive director at the time, called it an “attack ad.”
Jeffrey Katzenberg, then head of DreamWorks, and Terry Press, the studio’s marketing chief, both issued apologies following the scrutiny, with the former telling the Los Angeles Times, “we made a very bad and ill-advised mistake.”
Aghdashloo went on to lose the Oscar to Renee Zellweger for “Cold Mountain” (2003).
While no formal complaints have been filed regarding Riseborough’s nom to the Academy, sources and insiders have expressed negativity, accusing her camp of violating the Academy’s rules for campaigning. One Instagram post from the “To Leslie” account was among the possible violations. It quoted Richard Roeper’s top 10 films of 2022 that mention Cate Blanchett’s performance in “Tár,” which violates rule no. 11, which reads in part, “any tactic that singles out ‘the competition’ by name or titles is expressly forbidden.” The post has since been taken down.
If Riseborough’s campaign did violate Academy rules, the organization could rescind the nomination, which has only occurred nine times in Oscar history, but never for an acting performance.
According to sources, the Academy Board of Governors was already set to meet this Tuesday and will include Riseborough’s nomination as part of the agenda.