Saturday, April 13, 2024

Oscars: Deja Vu Manipulation All Over Again as Last Year’s Riseborough Scandal Revived for Ava Duvernay’s “Origin”


Here we go again.

Last year, at the very last minute, a group of actresses went into high gear and got an Oscar nomination for Andrea Riseborough in a movie called “To Leslie.” No one had ever heard of the movie. It made no money and had no distribution.

The way it worked was a last minute screening in Hollywood hosted by Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore. Frances Fisher jumped in on social media. They overturned the nomination process and angered a lot of people.

Now it’s happening again. This time it’s for Ava DuVernay’s “Origin.” The film was dumped by little Neon studios, has made no money, has little distribution, and wasn’t part of the awards race.

But a few days ago, Angelina Jolie hosted a screening a la “To Leslie.” It’s the same blueprint. ran a whole story about the screening just as they did with the first movie. I’m not sure who’s behind it, but it’s not happening by itself. Some Oscar PR specialist has jumped into the fray. Frances Fisher is even back on the case. Can they do it again with the movie, the director, and star Aunjanue Ellis? And who would all these nominations replace?

I admired “Origin” but it’s a lecture, a history lesson, a class. Its audience is about what “To Leslie”‘s was; very niche. The resentment about Riseborough last year came from the abrupt last minute effort to overturn the hard work of the casts of the movies that were already in the mix. Ellis is a terrific actress, but it’s implausible to think she could supersede the five or six actresses already lined up for this year.

Can the Academy members be manipulated twice in the same way? You bet.

See below a Tweet with actresses Catherine Keener, Mimi Rogers, and Rosanna Arquette.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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