Marc Maron is standing up for his “To Leslie” co-star Andrea Riseborough, whose nomination for best actress at the upcoming Oscars has ignited a wave of controversy. Riseborough made the cut over presumed contenders such as Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) and Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) following an unorthodox Oscar campaign started by Mary McCormick, who emailed actors and encouraged them to post raves for Riseborough on social media. Edward Norton, Jennifer Aniston, Charlize Theron and more high-profile celebrities either posted in support of Riseborough and/or held screenings for the film to help get the word out.
While the Academy has not referred to “To Leslie” or Riseborough by name, it did announce Jan. 27 that it would be “conducting a review of the campaign procedures around this year’s nominees” to ensure campaigning was “conducted in a fair and ethical manner.”
Maron has a significant supporting role in “To Leslie” as Sweeney, a kindhearted motel owner who employs Riseborough’s alcoholic character and helps get her life back on track.
“Apparently, the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences or whatever the fuck it is has decided to investigate Andrea Riseborough’s grassroots campaign to get her the Oscar nomination,” Maron said on his “WTF” podcast. “Because I guess it so threatens their system that they’re completely bought out by corporate interests in the form of studios.”
“Millions of dollars [are] put into months and months of advertising campaigns, publicity, screenings by large corporate entertainment entities and Andrea was championed by her peers through a grassroots campaign which was pushed through by a few actors,” Maron continued. “The Academy is [like], ‘Well, we gotta take a look at this. This is not the way it’s supposed to work. Independent artists don’t deserve the attention of the Academy unless we see how it works exactly. So, we’re going to look into this.’”
“Nothing is going to happen because of [an investigation],” Maron concluded, noting that he fully expects Riseborough to keep her nomination. “It was in earnest, the campaign, and it is not undeserving. But I’m glad the Academy — at the behest of special interest and corporate interest and paranoia about how they look — are doing an investigation. Who gives a fuck!”
Riseborough’s nomination has divided Oscar voters. An anonymous member of the actors branch defended the nom, telling Variety, “If she were disqualified from the awards, it would be a decimation of the Actors’ choice because it’s our choice to nominate someone.” But not everyone agrees, and a member of the writers branch predicted: “I have a feeling Andrea Riseborough will have her nomination rescinded because the Academy has to stop what’s been going on for a long time.”
Maron isn’t the only celebrity using his platform to defend Riseborough and condemn the Academy’s investigation. Christina Ricci took to social media recently to declare, “If it’s taken away, shame on them.”
“Seems hilarious that the ‘surprise nomination’ (meaning tons of money wasn’t spent to position this actress) of a legitimately brilliant performance is being met with an investigation,” Ricci wrote (via The Independent). “So it’s only the films and actors that can afford the campaigns that deserve recognition? Feels elitist and exclusive and frankly very backward to me.”
Academy board members are meeting Jan. 31 to discuss many topics about the upcoming Oscars, including Riseborough’s nomination.