First ever Geordie nominated for best actress at Oscars: Who is Whitley Bay's Andrea Riseborough?

Andrea Riseborough has become the first ever Geordie nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.

Born in Wallsend and raised in Whitley Bay, Riseborough received the nomination and widespread acclaim for playing the leading role in the drama To Leslie.

A host of A-listers were gushing in their praise of the 41-year-old's performance.

Gwyneth Paltrow said she "should win every award there is and all the ones that haven’t been invented yet".

Other Hollywood celebrities including Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston, Zooey Deschanel, Joe Mantegna, Minnie Driver and Helen Hunt have also publicly praised Riseborough’s performance, seemingly pushing for an Oscar nomination.

Ahead of the 95th Academy Awards in March, we take a look at Riseborough's life and career to this point.

Who is Andrea Riseborough?

Riseborough was born in Wallsend in 1981, the daughter of a secretary and a car dealer.

She grew up in Whitley Bay, studied at Newcastle upon Tyne Church High School and featured in plays at the People's Theatre, where she became a Young People's Theatre member for five years.

But Riseborough has not always spoken highly of her hometown.

In a controversial 2016 interview with American talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, she said Newcastle was "like the armpit" of England and scoffed after referring to the city as "the cold North Eastern part".

She also said Newcastle Brown Ale "rots your bladder," adding: "It just sort of sits there and the yeast ferments and you've just got to pee immediately."

Riseborough left the city and graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2005.

Acting career

After a few smaller roles, Riseborough gained some recognition for her performances in a trio of 2010 British films: Never Let Me Go, Brighton Rock and Made in Dagenham.

She then played Wallis Simpson in the 2011 critically divisive W.E, directed by Madonna.

Riseborough (left) with James D'Arcy, Madonna, Richard Coyle and Natalie Dormer arriving for the UK premiere of W.E. Credit: PA

From this point, Riseborough's career and renown spiralled upwards.

She appeared alongside Tom Cruise in the 2013 post-apocalyptic Oblivion and was widely praised by cinephiles for her roles in Nocturnal Animals and the Oscar-winning Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).

Riseborough also portrayed Margaret Thatcher in 2008's The Long Walk to Finchley and Stalin's daughter in The Death of Stalin (2007).

Oscar buzz

In July 2019, directorial debutant Michael Morris cast Riseborough as the leading role, an alcoholic lottery winner, in To Leslie.

Riseborough and Margot Robbie at the European premiere of Amsterdam in September 2022. Credit: PA

After premiering in the spring of 2022, the film has steadily garnered high laudatory critical attention - particularly for its leading lady.

The 2023 Academy Awards takes place on Sunday 12 March.

Riseborough is up against Cate Blanchett, Ana De Armas, Michelle Williams and Michelle Yeoh.

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