BAFTA dismisses diversity complaints over nominations

Since the nominations for 2017’s BAFTA awards were announced yesterday, there has been criticism about the lack of diversity in many of the categories.
Ruth Negga BAFTA
Ruth Negga via Shutterstock

Despite an initiative from BAFTA to increase diversity in 2019, objections have been made for certain omissions from the list.

This year, all of the leading acting nominees are white. Both Ruth Negga for Loving, and Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Figures, were expected to receive nominations in the leading actress category.

In particular, two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington has been snubbed for his performance in Fences, and has never received a single nomination from the British Academy in it’s entire history.

Barry Jenkins, director of Moonlight, has been nominated in the best film and original screenplay categories, but missed out on the best director accolade.

Commenting on the controversy about a lack of diversity, BAFTA chief executive Amanda Berry told Deadline:

“Everyone looks for the snubs and I want to remind people about the strong films. Let’s not overshadow their achievements because they are exceptional.”

“Barry Jenkins is nominated in Best Film and although not for Director, he is nominated for Original Screenplay. I do not feel Barry has been snubbed by BAFTA.”

She added:  “It’s incredibly difficult when you’re asked questions about why somebody hasn’t been nominated. You would have to look at each year and say which one lead actor would you take out?”

The BAFTA executive did admit that a lack of diversity in many areas was an issue. She said:

“The fact that there isn’t diversity among the top acting categories shows there is still work to be done”,

 

“But I don’t want it to overshadow the fantastic nominations that are there,” she added, going onto mention supporting nominations for Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, Dev Patel and Mahershala Ali.

Whilst the criticisms aren’t as strong 2016’s #OscarsSoWhite furor, Berry said BAFTA would take steps to continue to increase diversity commenting: “It would be inappropriate for me to say that we’ve done a better job than the Oscars [with diversity].”

The 2017 British Academy Film Awards will take place on Sunday, February 12 in London.

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