BAFTA ‘levelling the playing field’ after diversity outcry

More than half of the 24 BAFTA nominees are actors of colour – a huge change from last year’s all-white nominations, which sparked an outcry with the hashtag #BaftasSoWhite trending on social media.

This year's leading actor nominees include Riz Ahmed, pictured, for his portrayal of a heavy metal drummer going deaf in Sound of Metal and the late Chadwick Boseman for his role in the 1920s jazz drama Ma Rainey's Black Bottom [File: Carlo Allegri/Reuters]
This year's leading actor nominees include Riz Ahmed, pictured, for his portrayal of a heavy metal drummer going deaf in Sound of Metal and the late Chadwick Boseman for his role in the 1920s jazz drama Ma Rainey's Black Bottom [File: Carlo Allegri/Reuters]

United States recession drama Nomadland and coming-of-age story Rocks led the nominations for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards on Tuesday with seven nods each, with a clear push for diversity among the acting contenders following an outcry last year.

Family drama The Father, Hollywood throwback Mank, #MeToo revenge movie Promising Young Woman and Korean-language Minari followed with six nominations each at the United Kingdom’s top movie honours.

Four of the six best director nominees were women, including Chloe Zhao for Nomadland and Sarah Gavron for Rocks.

More than half of the 24 nominees were actors of colour – a huge change from last year when BAFTA revealed an all-white acting contenders list, sparking an online outcry with the hashtag #BaftasSoWhite trending on social media.

This year’s leading actor nominees include Riz Ahmed for his portrayal of a heavy metal drummer going deaf in Sound of Metal and the late Chadwick Boseman for his role in 1920s jazz drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Leading actress nominees include Bukky Bakray for Rocks and Frances McDormand for Nomadland.

Last year’s backlash led BAFTA to conduct a wide-ranging review resulting in expanded membership, a new long-list voting round and an increase in all four acting categories and best director to six nominees from five.

“It was about levelling the playing field,” BAFTA Chief Executive Amanda Berry told Reuters news agency. “That was really important to us … people are getting through on merit because they are excellent films, excellent performances.”

Nomadland, about a community of van dwellers, was also nominated for best film and adapted screenplay. The movie has had a successful start to the awards season, earning two Golden Globes.

The other best film contenders are 1960s Vietnam War protest drama The Trial of the Chicago 7, Promising Young Woman, The Father and Guantanamo Bay movie The Mauritanian.

Nominations for Rocks include outstanding British film, original screenplay and supporting actress for Kosar Ali.

Completing the leading actor category are Adarsh Gourav for The White Tiger, Anthony Hopkins for The Father, Mads Mikkelsen for Another Round and Tahar Rahim for The Mauritanian.

The other leading actress contenders are Radha Blank for The Forty-Year-Old Version, Vanessa Kirby for Pieces of a Woman, Wunmi Mosaku for His House and Alfre Woodard for Clemency.

The BAFTAs will take place virtually from London’s Royal Albert Hall next month. Berry said there would be two shows over two nights, with more details to follow in coming weeks.

“What we want to do is make sure that every category can be seen and categories celebrated across both shows,” she said.

Source: Reuters

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