Andrea Riseborough: who is To Leslie star who got Best Actress Oscar nomination - what else has she been in?

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Andrea Riseborough caused a major Oscars upset when she was nominated for Best Actress for her role in American drama film To Leslie

Actress Andrea Riseborough has been nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role in To Leslie after a late campaign saw other well-known actors, including one fellow nominee, throw their support behind her. A win for Riseborough at the awards ceremony in March would be a major upset, especially considering the limited reach her film has had so far.

To Leslie had only a limited UK release in October but is now available to rent on Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube. If Riseborough does go on to win the award it will renew interest in her film. This is everyting you need to know about Best Actress nominee Andrea Riseborough.

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Who is Andrea Riseborough?

Andrea Riseborough, 41, is an English actress from Newcastle. She began acting for the screen in 2005 and is known for her roles in the films Never Let Me Go, Made in Dagenham, Oblivion, and 2015 Best Picture winner Birdman.

She also featured in the historical comedy film Death of Stalin, fantasy horror, Grudge, and the recently released Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. Her TV credits include playing Evangeline in drama series Bloodline, Emma Lynwood in crime drama ZeroZeroZero, and a starring role in the Black Mirror episode Crocodile.

Riseborough is due to appear in the upcoming short drama film The State of Us which she will also produce, as well as war drama Lee, thriller Geechee, and drama Funny Birds.

Andrea RiseboroughAndrea Riseborough
Andrea Riseborough | Getty Images

What is To Leslie about?

To Leslie is an American drama film about an alcoholic single mother living in West Texas who has a chance to change her life when she wins $190,000 on the lottery. But when she squanders her winnings on drink and drugs, she causes pain for those around her.

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Six years later, Leslie is broke again and spends her life travelling from one motel to the next. After being kicked out of another lodging, she reunites with her young adult son, and attempts to rebuild her life and her relationship with him.

The film is inspired by true events and stars Andrea Riseborough in the lead role of Leslie, alongside The West Wing Actress Allison Janney, Office Space star Stephen Root, and It actor Owen Teague.

Andrea Riseborough in To LeslieAndrea Riseborough in To Leslie
Andrea Riseborough in To Leslie | YouTube/ Momentum Pictures

How did Andrea Riseborough get an Oscar nomination?

To Leslie had a limited cinematic release in October last year, and reportedly made just $27,322 at the box office as of November - about ⅛ of what the Leslie wins in the film - so it seems surprising that the movie generated Oscar-buzz.

However, a word of mouth campaign late in the year saw major Hollywood stars support Riseborough’s Best Actress bid. Among those who backed the actress were Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Adams, Edward Norton and Jennifer Aniston. Cate Blanchett used the start of her Critics Choice Award speech (for her role in the movie Tár) to praise Riseborough’s performance.

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The late campaign was successful, at the Oscars nominations announcement on Tuesday, Riseborough was confirmed as one of the Best Actress nominees. She is joined by Cate Blanchett, Ana de Armas, Michelle Williams, and Michelle Yeoh.

Riseborough told Deadline: “I’m astounded. It’s such an unexpected ray of light. It was so hard to believe it might ever happen because we really hadn’t been in the running for anything else. Even though we had a lot of support, the idea it might actually happen seemed so far away.”

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