Michelle Yeoh defends Andrea Riseborough’s controversial Oscar nomination

Both actors are competing for the Lead Actress award at this year’s ceremony

Louis Chilton
Friday 10 February 2023 13:02 GMT
To Leslie trailer

Michelle Yeoh has given her thoughts on Andrea Riseborough’s controversial Oscar nomination.

Riseborough was seen as a surprise inclusion on the list of 2023 nominees, earning a nod for her role in the little-seen drama To Leslie.

Her nomination followed a run of late-in-the-day endorsements from a number of A-list stars, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron, Amy Adams, Jennifer Aniston and Jane Fonda.

After the nominations were announced, the Academy said that it was “conducting a review of the campaign procedures around this year’s nominees” – before subsequently ruling that no action was to be taken on Riseborough’s nomination.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Yeoh, who was nominated for Best Actress for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once, dismissed the suggestion that Riseborough’s campaign had operated outside of the rules.

“The Academy has always prided itself on having regulations and playing by the rules and if [cheating them] was so easy it would have done before,” she said.

“We are always evolving on how to protect our integrity and I have great faith we will continue to do that.”

Riseborough’s nomination was particularly contentious due to the fact that Till’s Danielle Deadwyler and The Woman King’s Viola Davis, two women of colour who had been expected to receive nominations, did not.

Andrea Riseborough in ‘To Leslie’
Andrea Riseborough in ‘To Leslie’ (Momentum Pictures)

“I love [Viola and Danielle] to the extreme and wish we were all getting Oscars, but it’s tough,” Yeoh added. “It took me 40 years to even get a nomination. Every single actor and actress puts their heart and soul into these movies and you don’t necessarily start thinking you are going to get nominated. The stories we want to tell are more important.”

After receiving a brief theatrical release in October 2022, To Leslie took in around $27,000 (£22,000) at the box office, making it one of the lowest-grossing movies to ever receive an Oscar nomination.

In another recent interview, Yeoh revealed that her former Super Cop co-star Jackie Chan had messaged her to say that he had turned down the lead role in Everything Everywhere All at Once before she took it.

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