Oscar nominee Andrea Riseborough at the BAFTA Tea Party in Los Angeles in January.
Jon Kopaloff / Getty stringer
Andrea Riseborough received an Oscar nomination for best actress, surprising many people.
Riseborough’s performance in the indie film “To Leslie” has been praised by a slew of celebrities.
Whether or not she actually wins the award may be a moot point.
You may be wondering who Oscar best actress nominee Andrea Riseborough is and what her film “To Leslie” is all about.
You’re not the only one.
The little-seen independent film follows a West Texas single mother who squanders $190,000 won from the lottery. Riseborough received an Oscar nod Tuesday for best actress in the critically-acclaimed film, which scored a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Her nomination instantly catapulted her into a small, elite group of more well-known actors vying for the award, including Cate Blanchett (“Tár”), Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”), and Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”).
Riseborough, however, is a seasoned performer in her own right. The English actor and producer, who made her film debut in the 2006 film “Venus” is perhaps most known for her turn as Nicolas Cage’s murdered girlfriend Mandy Bloom in the ultraviolent 2018 grindhouse thriller “Mandy.”
Within Hollywood, Riseborough is highly respected for her craft. After “To Leslie” debuted in theaters last October, celebrities eagerly lined up to publicly heap praise on the film and Riseborough herself, including Kate Winslet, Jennifer Aniston, Jane Fonda, Amy Adams, Jamie Lee Curtis, Greg Kinnear, Howard Stern, and many, many more.
When Charlize Theron hosted a screening of the film last November, she proclaimed it “one of those film experiences that are becoming extinct. “
“It stays in your bones. It even stays in your skin,” Theron said then, adding that she recalled a time “when these kinds of film were more frequent, more accessible, and truly appreciated. I can’t stop thinking about it.”
In a rare move, Edward Norton took to Twitter deeming Riseborough’s performance “the most fully committed, emotionally deep, physically harrowing performance” he’d seen in a while. Gwyneth Paltrow, who breathlessly proclaimed “To Leslie” a “masterpiece of a film” on Instagram, extolled that Riseborough “should win every award there is and all the ones that haven’t been invented yet.” And Winslet resolutely dubbed Riseborough’s portrayal of Leslie the “greatest female performance onscreen I have ever seen in my life.”
A Reddit thread started in mid-January perfectly captures the general confusion around “To Leslie’s” celebrity media blitz.
“I am almost certain Riseborough has a Hollywood orgy videotaped, and she’s using it to blackmail everyone,” one Reddit user mused.
Vulture chalks up the actor’s nomination to several factors, speculating that the film’s director Michael Morris and his wife may have traded favors with celebrities in exchange for exposure. It also doesn’t hurt that Riseborough’s manager is “well-connected,” according to Puck. But it’s Riseborough’s status as an under-the-radar actor, well-liked within Hollywood circles, as well as human nature’s age-old yearning to support an underdog, that perhaps appealed most to the voting members of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences.
Given the level of recognition Riseborough is now receiving because of her Oscar nod, whether she actually wins best actress is probably a moot point now, because even being nominated has irrevocably altered her career trajectory. Moving forward, many more people will be watching.