On Tuesday, the nominations for the 2020 BAFTA film awards were announced, and social media immediately responded with criticism.
Despite acclaimed performances from actors such as Eddie Murphy in “Dolemite Is My Name” and Cynthia Erivo in “Harriet,” all of the nominees in the leading and supporting actor and actress categories are white.
In fact, there were merely a handful of black and Asian nominees — one of those being Awkwafina, who snagged a nod for the Rising Star Award.
After news broke, Twitter users began trending the hashtag #BAFTAsSoWhite to slam the ceremony for its lack of diversity.
In response, officials for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts said in a statement to Deadline, “We would have liked to see more diversity in the nominations, but it continues to be an industry-wide issue and we will keep working on our initiatives.”
Additionally, BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry said the organization is “disappointed,” but noted that female directors were nominated —though not in the male-dominated Best Director category.
“Being totally honest, we are disappointed, and that is not to take anything away from the people who have been nominated,” she said, later adding, “We do have 13 directors nominated who are females across other categories — so everybody from Jennifer Lee, who directed ‘Frozen 2’ — and this is what gives me joy and hope actually, six female directors in the shorts category, and that is the category where we are really seeing talent at the start of their career and they are the industry of the future, but we are going to do more. We are not going to stop pushing.”
Though chair of BAFTA’s film committee Marc Samuelson called the situation “infuriating,” he said, “we can’t make the industry do something. All we can do is encourage and push and inspire and try to help people coming in at the bottom end.”
He continued, “There are some good signs. If you take all the nominations, it’s up to about 36 percent female and it’s been rising every year, and that is pretty much double over the last couple of years. So, that is a really good sign and that is across all categories, which is very interesting, because obviously a lot of those are craft, which is also very important. Keep going on that, and maybe in another couple of years we are over 40 percent and are heading towards parity, which would be great. It doesn’t take anything away from the issue in the acting categories, but nonetheless it’s something, and things are moving.”