BAFTA to carry out 'careful and detailed review' of awards voting after diversity row

Tom BeasleyContributor
BAFTA Awards to be given to recipients at the upcoming ceremony on display at the academy's offices in Piccadilly, London. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
BAFTA Awards to be given to recipients at the upcoming ceremony on display at the academy's offices in Piccadilly, London. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)

Bafta has announced plans to mount a wide-ranging review of how its awards are voted for in the wake of a row over the lack of diversity in this year’s nominations.

The British Academy was criticised online after all 20 nominations in its acting categories were given to white performers and its Best Director shortlist was all-male for the seventh consecutive year.

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Bafta itself admitted it was “disappointing” that there was not more diversity in its nominations.

Read more: All the Brits who won at the Golden Globes

Marc Samuelson, head of the Bafta film committee, told Variety that “change is required” in order to ensure that the nominees represent the diversity of the movie industry.

He said there would be a “careful and detailed review within and outside the membership”, with changes potentially implemented in time for the 2021 awards.

'The Farewell' actor Awkwafina was snubbed by the Baftas, despite her triumph at the Golden Globes. (Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
'The Farewell' actor Awkwafina was snubbed by the Baftas, despite her triumph at the Golden Globes. (Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

He added: “There is absolute openness to change, and the organisation made clear its position on the noms and that it was not satisfied.

“Change is required – what that is is complex and needs calm, careful thought.”

Read more: Sienna Miller says diversity-driven casting is “dangerous”

In the wake of the nominations on Tuesday, social media reaction was widely negative, with fans pointing out that performers of colour including Jennifer Lopez, Lupita Nyong’o, Cynthia Erivo and Awkwafina had given terrific performances in the last year.

Many used the hashtag #BaftasSoWhite to express their disappointment.

Several people pointed out that the five nominees for Best Supporting Actress — including a double nod for Margot Robbie — were not only entirely white, but also all blonde.

Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry conceded that the nominations were “disappointing”, but pointed to greater diversity outside of the marquee categories.

She said: “Being totally honest we are disappointed and that is not to take anything away from the people who have been nominated.

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"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."

Graham Norton will host this year’s ceremony, taking over from Joanna Lumley after the Absolutely Fabulous actor’s critically savaged time at the podium last year.

The Bafta Awards will be given out at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 2 February.

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