Speed Reads

the rise of borough

Hollywood is suddenly obsessed with actress Andrea Riseborough. Here's why.

Andrea Riseborough is living up to the first four letters of her surname by suddenly rising in the Oscar race. 

Seemingly out of nowhere, Hollywood is obsessing over the actress' performance in the under-the-radar indie film To Leslie, with star after star coming out of the woodwork to heap praise on her. The movie sees Riseborough portray an alcoholic single mother. 

"It's about the most fully committed, emotionally deep, physically harrowing performance I've seen in a while," Edward Norton tweeted, while Gwyneth Paltrow said she was "stunned" by Riseborough's performance. Multiple stars, including Dulé Hill and Meredith Vieira, also posted virtually identical tweets about the "small film with a giant heart." 

Cate Blanchett praised the actress on stage at the Critics' Choice Awards for her "extraordinary" work, and Kate Winslet even proclaimed Riseborough delivered the "greatest female performance on screen I have ever seen in my life." Others who have endorsed the film (and hosted screenings of it) include Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Paulson, and Charlize Theron. This sudden wave of enthusiasm came amid voting for the Oscar nominations — and Frances Fisher laid out exactly how many votes Riseborough would need to earn a nod.

To Leslie director Michael Morris told The Hollywood Reporter the film is so small, "we can't even afford an ad," so the goal seemed to be to make up for the lack of resources for an awards campaign by getting the movie in front of as many actors as possible right as Oscar voting begins. According to Deadline, Riseborough is also "using largely her own money to bring attention" to the film amid what the outlet dubbed a "guerilla campaign," though Puck's Matthew Belloni reports "rival campaigners believe" the agency CAA, "which reps a lot of the backers," could be behind it. 

But will all this pay off? On the awards prediction website GoldDerby, at least one pundit is now forecasting Riseborough will, in fact, earn an Oscar nomination, potentially meaning Viola Davis gets left out for The Woman King. It would be a highly unusual case of a film receiving an acting nod at the Oscars despite having little-to-no presence in the awards race beforehand and not being pushed in a big way until the last minute — marking a potentially big win for procrastinators everywhere.