BAFTA film awards is considered to be one of the most prestigious awards provided in the film industry. BAFTA has always been a topic of discussion amongst media and the intelligentsia. BAFTA has again become the part of a controversy, after an all-white list of 20 acting nominations and also director nominations that did not have a single female. The decisions and choices of BAFTA in this regard were severely criticized by the media and faced huge social media eruptions regarding the issue.
It was previously suggested that the board of nominators was prejudiced and the whole system of nominations requires a few crucial changes. This new list of nominations at the recent BAFTA film awards once again ignites the controversies and allegations regarding the race and gender-based discrimination done by the board. Although a lot of films nominated this year were based on various social issues, the nomination list was considered to be an absolute disgrace considering the standards of the British Academy, failing to reflect the society.
The non-white actors were completely excluded from the list of nominations, suggesting the effects of bias in the film industry and highlighting its lack of diversity and uniform representation.
A similar outcry about discrimination was faced by the academy three years ago. Marc Samuelson, BAFTA’s chair of the film committee expressing his disappointment in the nomination list, said, “There is an infuriating lack of diversity in the acting nominations.”
While, BAFTA’s director of awards and membership, Emma Baehr said, “We would like there to be more diversity in the nominations, but this continues to be an industry-wide issue. We’d like to see more diverse nominations and we will work harder and push the industry more. But that shouldn’t take away from those who were nominated (this year),” while speaking to Variety.
Starting from the all-male director nominations to all-white actors list, BAFTA has faced widespread allegations of racism and prejudice among members and has been subjected to a barrage of criticism. The 71st BAFTA awards that happened at London’s Royal Albert Hall, looked at 11 different categories of film and television awards.
Times have been changing, and the racial disparity is an issue that BAFTA has promised to address several times in the past. But as much as it is heard about the progression, inclusivity, and diversity of the BAFTA awards committee, we have not seen its effect on the nominations list this year. But, with changing times, we hope to in a transformation of the BAFTA policies and practices.