Andrea Riseborough was a surprised as anyone else when her name was called during the Oscar nominations announcement last month.
“I’m astounded,” she told Deadline at the time. “It was so hard to believe it might ever happen because we really hadn’t been in the running for anything else. Even though we had a lot of support, the idea it might actually happen seemed so far away.”
Now, even with a few weeks’ hindsight, Riseborough is still a bit dumbfounded.
“I don’t know what I know,” she told The Hollywood Reporter today. “I think once I have time to process everything, I might understand it a bit better.”
After questions were raised about how such a little-known performance in the little-seen film To Leslie could have led to a Best Actress nomination, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences launched an investigation into the grass-roots campaign of support from the likes of Charlize Theron and Gwyneth Paltrow that helped push Riseborough over the top. In the end, the Academy decided against revoking Riseborough’s Oscar nomination for To Leslie.
“The Academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film’s nomination should be rescinded,” AMPAS CEO Bill Kramer said in a statement.
“It’s been confusing,” Riseborough told THR in her first statements about the controversy. “And it’s wonderful the film’s getting seen. I suppose it’s a really bright ray of light. When any of us engage in anything, we want for that piece of work to be absorbed in some way. You can’t control how people absorb it.”
As for measures that need to be taken, she observed, “Awards campaigning is as acerbically exclusive as it has always been. I do not yet know which measures will best encourage meritocracy. I’ve been working toward discovering them and will continue to.”
Of the debate over her nomination has elicited Riseborough says, “It not only makes sense that this conversation would be sparked, but it is necessary. The film industry is abhorrently unequal in terms of opportunity. I’m mindful not to speak for the experience of other people because they are better placed to speak, and I want to listen.”
She continued, “I am grateful for the conversation because it must be had. It has deeply impacted me.”