‘Laughable’: Anger as BAFTA awards recognise only white actors

Lack of diversity highlighted as all 20 nominees in acting categories for UK film body’s awards are white.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on February 2 at London's Royal Albert Hall [File: Dylan Martinez/Reuters]
The winners will be announced at a ceremony on February 2 at London's Royal Albert Hall [File: Dylan Martinez/Reuters]

Cinema fans and critics have slammed a United Kingdom film body over a lack of diversity among the nominees for its annual film awards.

All 20 acting nominees for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards, announced on Tuesday, were white.

All best director nominees were men for the seventh consecutive year, and four out of five were white.

Marc Samuelson, the chair of BAFTA’s film committee, blamed the “infuriating lack of diversity” in the acting nominations on industry-wide failings in representation.

“It’s just a frustration that the industry is not moving as fast as certainly the whole BAFTA team would like it to be,” he told Variety magazine.

However, social media users were quick to point out acclaimed performances by actors such as Lupita Nyong’o in the film Us.

https://twitter.com/ptanderstan/status/1214576466995879937?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Meanwhile, white actresses Scarlett Johansson and Margot Robbie received two nominations each, prompting one Twitter user to say: “It’s actually laughable how Bafta went out of their way not to nominate a woc [woman of colour].”

On Sunday, United States rapper Awkwafina made history, becoming the first Asian-American woman to take home a Golden Globe for Lead Actress in a Comedy or Musical for her role in The Farewell.

Golden Globe winner Awkwafina was not included among the BAFTA nominees [Mike Blake/Reuters]

Awkwafina was included in BAFTA’s EE Rising Star category, in a more diverse group that included Michael Ward, Jack Lowden, Kelvin Harrison Jr, and Kaityln Dever.

The EE Rising Star award is the only BAFTA category for which the public can vote.

Several critics had hoped Greta Gerwig – who was also snubbed by the Golden Globes – would receive a BAFTA nomination for her reworking of Little Women.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry said she was “disappointed” by the lack of gender diversity in the directing category, but noted that 13 female directors were nominated in other categories, including Best Short Film and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Directors Joanna Hogg and Greta Gerwig (pictured) were notably absent among the BAFTA nominees for Best Direction [File: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters]

Asad Dhunna, founder of The Unmistakables, a culture and communications consultancy, told Al Jazeera that diversity in awards events could help encourage better representation in the film industry.

“People need to see themselves reflected in all industries for them to believe they have a place within them,” he told Al Jazeera.

“We need to see more original storytelling and narratives that truly reflect British diversity … It’s not just about celebrating existing talent in the arts. It’s about recognising and elevating the contribution of artists of different backgrounds so that others can follow on their paths.”

Among the films nominated, Todd Phillips’s Joker received 11 nominations, while Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood scored 10 nods each.

For Sama, a harrowing look at the female experience of war shot over four years in the Syrian city of Aleppo, became the most-nominated documentary in BAFTA history, with four nominations. 

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on February 2 at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

See the full list of nominees below:

Best Film

1917

The Irishman

Joker

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

Outstanding British Film

1917

Bait

For Sama

Rocketman

Sorry We Missed You

The Two Popes

Leading Actress

Jessie Buckley – Wild Rose

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan – Little Women

Charlize Theron – Bombshell

Renee Zellweger – Judy

Leading Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Adam Driver – Marriage Story

Taron Egerton – Rocketman

Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes

Supporting Actress

Laura Dern – Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit

Florence Pugh – Little Women

Margot Robbie – Bombshell

Margot Robbie – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes

Al Pacino – The Irishman

Joe Pesci – The Irishman

Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Director

Sam Mendes – 1917

Martin Scorsese – The Irishman

Todd Phillips – Joker

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Bong Joon-ho – Parasite

EE Rising Star Award

Awkwafina

Jack Lowden

Kaitlyn Dever

Kelvin Harrison Jr

Michael Ward

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer

Bait

For Sama

Maiden

Only You

Retablo

Film Not in the English Language

The Farewell

For Sama

Pain and Glory

Parasite

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Documentary

American Factory

Apollo 11

For Sama

Diego Maradona

The Great Hack 

Animated Film

Frozen 2

Klaus

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Toy Story 4

Original Screenplay

Booksmart

Knives Out

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

The Two Popes

Original Score

1917

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Cinematography

1917

The Irishman

Joker

Le Mans ’66 (Ford v Ferrari)

The Lighthouse

Costume Design

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Judy

Little Women

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Editing

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker 

Le Mans ’66 (Ford v Ferrari)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Production Design

1917

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Once Upon a Time  in Hollywood

Make Up and Hair

1917

Bombshell

Joker

Judy

Rocketman

Sound

1917

Joker 

Le Mans ’66 (Ford v Ferrari)

Rocketman

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Special Visual Effects

1917

Avengers: Endgame

The Irishman

The Lion King

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Casting 

Joker

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The Personal History of David Copperfield

The Two Popes

British Short Film

Azaar

Goldfish

Kamali

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

The Trap

British Short Animation

Grandad Was A Romantic

In Her Boots

The Magic Boat

 

Charlotte Mitchell contributed to this report.

Source : Al Jazeera

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