Oscar campaigning: How nominees try to sway hearts, minds of voters

BySandy Kenyon OTRC logo
Thursday, March 9, 2023
Oscar campaigning: How nominees try to sway hearts, minds of voters
Oscar nominees campaign each year and try almost anything to sway the hearts and minds of Academy voters as they go for gold. Sandy Kenyon has more from the Oscars carpet.

LOS ANGELES -- Campaigning is a practice that is as old as the Oscar ceremony itself, but social media has changed how the game is played.

In the Golden era of Hollywood, studios used to insist voters cast ballots in favor of the company where they worked and there are plenty of cases in the modern era where folks have gone too far -- but there are also tasteful ways of making sure voters remember you.

When you're going for the gold, there's nothing like a heartfelt speech to put you in the lead of the Oscar race. And through preliminary rounds of awards aren't supposed to count, they often do.

Studios spend a fortune trying to grab and hold the attention of about 10,000 members of the Motion Picture Academy who will determine the winners on Sunday night.

Ads are part of the Oscar campaigns that can cost many millions of dollars.

"We want everyone to go into campaigning season understanding the regulations," said Academy CEO Bill Kramer.

The Academy tries to discourage the most blatant attempts, but every so often a specific lobbying campaign will get folks talking again.

Andrea Riseborough's performance as an alcoholic is astounding. It's just that so few people had seen it until big stars began singling her out in person and online.

"There were social media posts that were suspiciously similar, with a lot of actors and actresses saying that she was amazing 'in a little movie, with a big heart,'" said Vanity Fair staff writer Chris Murphy.

What hurt was who got excluded. Danielle Deadwyler has been repeatedly honored for her breakout performance in "Till."

"There are films before Till, and they are wonderful, and then there are films after Till," Deadwyler said.

Deadwyler didn't make the cut for the Oscars, nor did Viola Davis as "The Woman King," despite praise for both.

Riseborough's nomination stood following a review by the Academy, but Kramer is already looking ahead.

"How do we create regulations that level the playing field? And, this is something we're very eager to dig into," Kramer said.

Kramer is eager because leveling the playing field is so hard given social media. So look for new rules and look for existing rules to be strengthened.

This year, Oscar voting closed earlier this week and the ballots are being tabulated by the accountants. The results will be revealed Sunday night.

Mark your calendar: March 12 is Oscar Sunday. The 2023 Oscars air live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC. After the last award is handed out, stay with "On The Red Carpet" for continuing coverage. Be sure to follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all your Oscar news and information. Click here to download our CTV apps to watch "On The Red Carpet" wherever you stream.