BAFTAs 2016: Rebel Wilson and Sacha Baron Cohen's speeches tackle diversity debate

This year's ceremony proved diversity lives in the forefront of the filmmaking hivemind

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The Independent Culture

Rebel Wilson and Sacha Baron Cohen both took their moments onstage as BAFTA presenters to jokingly address diversity issues within the awards race, as brought up by the popular tag #OscarsSoWhite. 

"It’s so great to be here at this really serious event," Rebel Wilson stated in absolute deadpan, taking to the stage to present Best Supporting Actor to Mark Rylance (winning for Bridge of Spies). 

"I have never been invited to the Oscars, because as you know they are racists, but the BAFTAs have diverse members and that’s what we all want to see in life. Diverse members." Though the Academy Awards fail to feature a single non-white nominee in its acting categories, the BAFTAs are at least notable for the inclusion of both Benicio Del Toro (for Sicario) and Idris Elba (for Beasts of No Nation) amongst the Best Supporting Actor category. 

"One day I hope to return here to collect a BAFTA myself. I have already been practicing my transgender face," she added, in reference to Eddie Redmayne's nomination for The Danish Girl. 

"Sorry, Idris Elba, you are making me a bit nervous," she then joked. "But I am sociologically programmed to want chocolate on Valentine’s Day."

Sacha Baron Cohen also took a stronger jab at this year's lack of diversity in its Best Actress category; "The main reason I agreed to present at this awards ceremony is that BAFTA has shown none of the discrimination and prejudice, which is so shamefully on display at the Oscars. It gives me great pride that every year BAFTA makes sure that one of the lead actress nominees is a dame … Dench, Smith."

As he read out the winner, Baron Cohen joked about presenting the award to the Best "white" Actress.