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    How To Leslie Star Andrea Riseborough Got An Oscar Nod Despite Low Ticket Sales And A Lack Of An Awards Campaign

    The 2023 Oscar nominations were full of snubs and surprises, but nobody could have predicted that How To Leslie star Andrea Riseborough would score an out-of-nowhere Best Actress nod. It all came about thanks to a celebrity-backed social media campaign.

    With a little over $27,000 in ticket sales during its limited theatrical run, To Leslie was already a low-key film before the campaign kicked off about a week before nominations voting. But the word got out quickly: It was a film that needed to be seen by voters, and no one wanted it to go unnoticed.

    It’s a word-of-mouth campaign

    On January 24th, 2023, British actress Andrea Riseborough got an Oscar nod for her performance in the low-key independent drama To Leslie. Although the film received positive reviews at the South by Southwest festival in March 2022, it struggled to gain exposure beyond a few theaters and only managed to gross $27,000 at the box office.

    But as the awards season was about to start, a word-of-mouth campaign went viral that suddenly elevated the film and Riseborough’s performance into the spotlight. A list of celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Edward Norton, began to post about the movie on social media.

    Even though major Hollywood studios often spend millions of dollars in advertising and promotion to win over Oscar voters, Riseborough’s team opted instead for a grassroots effort that relied heavily on social media. But it could be argued that Riseborough and her campaigning team violated Academy rules by soliciting votes through social media rather than traditional advertising or publicity.

    It’s based on a true story

    Based on a true story, To Leslie tells the tale of a West Texas single mother who wins the lottery but squanders her fortune. Years later, with her charm running out and nowhere to go, she fights to rebuild her life and find redemption.

    Despite a modest release, To Leslie got a surprise Oscar nomination for best actress thanks to a word-of-mouth campaign. A-list celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Norton and Charlize Theron took to social media to support the film and boost its online visibility.

    The Academy has launched an investigation into the campaign, which reportedly broke rules by encouraging Academy voters to watch and promote the movie on their social media accounts. The Academy has a long list of guidelines on how to do this, but it’s unclear whether Riseborough’s team broke any of them.

    While it may be hard to see how an Oscar nomination was achieved for a low-key movie, To Leslie is worth watching. It’s a moving story that takes place in a variety of settings and eschews conventions of Texas cinema for the better.

    It’s a low-key movie

    When a movie isn’t getting the buzz it deserves, it can seem like a lost cause. Hence, it came as a delightful surprise when Andrea Riseborough, the star of “How To Leslie,” received an Oscar nomination despite the film’s low ticket sales and the absence of a traditional awards campaign.

    The film stars Riseborough as a single mother who wins the lottery and spends it all on alcohol and drugs. Six years later, she attempts to rebuild her life and get a second chance with those she wronged.

    It’s a story that isn’t often seen in the cinema. Thankfully, director Michael Morris is connected to celebrities and managed to get the word out about his film.

    In the week leading up to voting, he sent emails to high-profile friends to post about the film. Several celebrities held screenings for the film, including Charlize Theron and Gwyneth Paltrow. This, combined with social media and email campaigns by Riseborough, gave the film a significant boost in its efforts to win an Oscar nomination.

    It’s a hard film to watch

    In this bleak, low-key drama, Riseborough doesn’t shy away from her alcoholic character. She doesn’t make her a pretty face or paint a picture of a perfect life, but she does deliver a performance that is as gut-wrenching and heartbreaking as anything she’s done before.

    In To Leslie, Riseborough plays a Texas single mother who won the lottery seven years ago and spent all her money on booze and partying. She becomes homeless and estranged from her son, her hometown, and even her family.

    Fortunately, she does find help. Her savior is Sweeney (Marc Maron), the owner of a hotel. He offers Leslie a job, helps her get back on her feet, and gives her the strength to start anew.

    The film isn’t a slam dunk Oscar winner, but it does deserve to be seen by audiences. It’s not a high-wire act or an exciting ride, but it’s a genuinely humbling experience. It also shows that good acting can still be recognized despite low ticket sales and streaming platforms.

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