Marc Maron Defends Andrea Riseborough’s Oscar Nomination


Marc Maron is sticking up for his To Leslie co-star Andrea Riseborough‘s surprise Oscar nomination. In the most recent episode of his popular podcast WTF , Maron addressed the brewing controversy about Riseborough’s grassroots best actress campaign that is now under review with the Academy: “Who gives a fuck.” 

Before a conversation with Vanity Fair‘s Editor-in-Chief Radhika Jones, Maron shared his unfiltered thoughts about the Academy’s possible investigation into Riseborough’s unconventional grassroots Oscar campaign, calling out the Academy for its alleged corporate interests. “Apparently, the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences or whatever the fuck it is has decided to investigate Andrea Riseborough’s grassroots campaign to get her the Oscar nomination,” Maron said. “Because I guess it so threatens their system that they’re completely bought out by corporate interests in the form of studios.”

Riseborough plays the titular Leslie, an alcoholic single mother in Texas who squandered her lottery winnings, while Maron plays Sweeney, a motel manager who employs the down-and-out Leslie. The campaign that led to Riseborough’s surprise Oscar nomination, the actor’s first, is under scrutiny after a long list of actresses including Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, and Frances Fisher took to social media to laud Riseborough’s performance in the “the little film with a giant heart” the week of academy voting. Despite only grossing $27,000 and being virtually absent from the awards conversation and pre-cursor awards, Riseborough’s last-minute campaign proved successful, landing her a best actress nomination over presumed locks like Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler

Maron laid out the typical process that films and actors undergo to receive Oscar nominations, arguing that Riseborough diverged from that well-worn path on the strength of her performance. “Millions of dollars put into months and months of advertising campaigns, publicity, screenings by large corporate entertainment entities and Andrea was championed by her peers through a grassroots campaign which was pushed through by a few actors,” he said. “The Academy is [like], ‘Well, we gotta take a look at this. This is not the way it’s supposed to work. Independent artists don’t deserve the attention of the Academy unless we see how it works exactly. So, we’re going to look into this.’” 

While Maron lamented the corporate interests involved in awards season and the Oscars’s penchant for overlooking independent cinema, he’s not worried about Riseborough’s nomination potentially getting rescinded. “Nothing is going to happen because of [an investigation] but it was in earnest, the campaign, and it is not undeserving,” he said, of Riseborough’s nomination. “But I’m glad the Academy—at the behest of special interest and corporate interest and paranoia about how they look—are doing an investigation.” 

The Academy did not specifically name To Leslie when it announced Friday that it would conduct “a review of the campaign procedures around this year’s nominees, to ensure that no guidelines were violated.” But the film, and Riseborough, seem like they will be unavoidable at Tuesday’s Academy board meeting. 

Maron, whose latest standup special airs on HBO Max on February 11th, ended the segment in typical Maron fashion: “Who gives a fuck.” 

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