'To Leslie' Star Andrea Riseborough Addresses Oscar Campaign Overspending
"I've promoted four films this year, and two of them have huge platforms and tons of muscle behind them. This isn't one of them."
Every year, when the nominees for the Academy Awards are announced, a few stand out as outliers in the competition. Of course, that doesn't mean they shouldn't be there. Quite the opposite, in fact: They become a surprise and suddenly make it possible to reach a larger audience. That was the case with "Fur Leslie"—and, more specifically, its leading lady, Andrea Riseborough, whose haunting and heartrending performance as the lead earned her the best Oscar yet. Best Actress nomination and Independent Spirit Award Best Actress nomination.
A few weeks ago, Riseborough sat down with Collider's Perri Nemiroff to talk about To Leslie and other projects she's starring in. In the interview, Riseborough discusses the difference between big studio films that easily reach a broad audience — like Netflix's Matilda the Musical and 20th Century Studios' Amsterdam — and films like To Leslie that require more legwork. Work on small projects. She said:
“I mean, it’s incredible … I was promoting four films this year, two of which had huge platforms behind them and a lot of muscle. This is not one of those. [Laughs] We’ve done a lot of legwork ourselves to basically share the film with the world, and that’s been really, actually, I wouldn’t change that for the world. It’s been so rewarding. And such an incredible experience to have so many personal conversations with people about this film and how it’s affected them in so many different ways ... I think the real win for the film is that the [Spirit Award] nomination brings it to more people. It feels wonderful in every way for it to be recognized, for the performance to be recognized, for Ryan [Binaco] who really wrote this film as a love song to his own mother, who sadly is no longer with us.”
Riseborough made the statement after being nominated for a Spirit Award, but before it became one of the biggest surprises of Oscar nomination night. how do they pull An unexpected (and well-deserved) Best Actress nomination? No big budgets, but plenty of peer support and word of mouth.
Riseborough notes that a lack of money to keep up with the big studios during awards season is not the problem. The problem is overruns in carrying out these activities.
"I'm thinking, it shouldn't have more money, everything else should have less money ... There are people struggling all over the place, and what we do is very, very expensive. I don't personally think we need to spend more money, we need to spend less. And the idea that you can buy a voice, that you can buy how loud your message is is the most dangerous thing in the world, isn't it? It's led to all of the disasters. And it also makes a judgment on the audience that they are only willing to consume one of five things, as opposed to a plethora of many, many different things. How do we know what people want? We don't. And it's important to just offer everything up in a much less pushy way so that films like this get through."
What Is To Leslie About?
To Leslie tells the incredible true story of a single mother who won the lottery and then burned all her winnings on drugs and alcohol. As she slumps into depression, she tries to turn her life around before it's too late. The film marks the directorial debut of Michael Morris, who previously helmed shows such as Better Call Saul, 13 Reasons Why, Kingdom and Bloodlines.
The film received a single nomination at the Oscars, but the team's publicity efforts were stellar. It won a Chicago Film Critics Association Award and a Film Independent Spirit Award. The National Board of Review also named it one of the ten best films of 2022, and it won two awards at the Raindance Film Festival for Riseborough and the coveted festival award.
You can watch Riseborough's entire Collider Ladies Night conversation below: