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Michelle Yeoh Shrugs Off Andrea Riseborough Oscar Controversy: ‘If It Was So Easy, It Would Have Been Done Before’

The ”Everything Everywhere All at Once“ star adds that she wishes ”we were all getting Oscars,“ nodding to actresses who were nudged off the ballot

Michelle Yeoh spoke out for the first time on Friday about the ongoing Andrea Riseborough Oscar campaign controversy.

When asked about the swirling speculation that Riseborough’s grassroots Oscar campaign for micro-indie “To Leslie” broke the rules, and the internal investigation at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Yeoh, herself a nominee and frontrunner for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” shrugged it all off.

“The Academy has always prided itself on having regulations and playing by the rules and if [cheating them] was so easy, it would have done before,” Yeoh told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program. “We are always evolving on how to protect our integrity and I have great faith we will continue to do that.”

Riseborough’s dark horse rise to being a Best Actress Oscar nominee for the $27,000-grosser became further embattled after the Jan. 24 nomination announcements when two Black actresses, Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) and Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”), who were widely considered shoe-ins for the opportunity were nudged off the ballot.

“I love [Viola and Danielle] to the extreme and wish we were all getting Oscars, but it’s tough,” Yeoh said, nodding to the peers she’s seen through all of the awards circuit this season.

“It took me 40 years to even get a nomination,” she added. “Every single actor and actress puts their heart and soul into these movies and you don’t necessarily start thinking you are going to get nominated. The stories we want to tell are more important.”

On Jan. 31, the Academy announced that after an internal investigation into Riseborough’s grassroots campaign that saw use of high-profile peers and social media, they would not take action against the campaign nor rescind the actress’ nomination.

Academy CEO Bill Kramer said in an email announcement that the Academy “has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film’s nomination should be rescinded.” He added, though, “we did discover social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern. These tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly.” Kramer’s email also conceded that the Academy needed to clarify its campaign rules, and said it would do so after this year’s Oscars.