#BaftasSoWhite: All-white acting nominees sparks Baftas backlash

Scarlett Johansson and Margot Robbie received two nominations each, but ceremony failed to recognise a single non-white actor 

Adam White
Tuesday 07 January 2020 12:05
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Bafta bosses 'infuriated' by lack of diversity in nominations

The Baftas are facing a backlash after the awards ceremony failed to recognise a single non-white actor in its 2020 nominations, while awarding Scarlett Johansson and Margot Robbie two nominations each.

#BaftasSoWhite trended on Twitter in the wake of the Bafta nominations announcement, with critics and audiences condemning it.

Among the stars snubbed despite collecting awards and nominations in other acting ceremonies this year were Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers, Eddie Murphy for Dolemite Is My Name, Lupita Nyong’o for Us, Antonio Banderas for Pain & Glory and Cynthia Erivo for Harriet.

Awkwafina, who collected Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical award at this weekend’s Golden Globes for The Farewell, was also not nominated.

Women and films anchored by female characters were under-represented in the show’s key categories. Joanna Hogg’s critically acclaimed drama The Souvenir and Claire Denis’s High Life were both absent, while Greta Gerwig failed to receive a Best Director nomination for Little Women. The film itself did not make it into the Best Picture category.

Other filmmakers snubbed included Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers) and Kasi Lemmons (Harriet).

“Not a single person of colour nominated despite plenty of contenders,” one tweet said. “No Lopez. No Nyong’o. No Erivo. No Shuzhen. No Awkwafina. No Parasite actors. No Murphy. #BAFTASsowhite”

“This ain’t about some forced diversity, but when you see the work that was done by people like Lupita Nyong’o, Alfre Woodard, Cynthia Enrivo, Awkwafina, the cast of Parasite, and these are the nominations you end up with, something is clearly wrong,” another Twitter user wrote.

Others expressed bafflement over the decision to grant Johansson and Robbie two nominations each, for their work in Jojo Rabbit, Marriage Story, Bombshell and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, despite the number of high-profile omissions.

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“They nominated the same white woman twice in the same category so they wouldn’t have to give a slot to a deserving actor of colour,” another tweet read.

There has also been criticism of the Baftas as a whole, with a number of tweets referencing the fact that neither Denzel Washington nor Morgan Freeman have ever received Bafta nominations.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Emma Baehr, the director of awards, appeared to blame the industry as a whole for the ceremony’s lack of non-white nominees.

“We’d have liked to have seen more diversity in the nominations, it does continue to be an industry-wide issue,” she said. “I think more films need to be made, and entered, giving people a chance to see them. We’d absolutely like to see more diversity, but I also don’t want to take away from those celebrating today.”

Read the full list of this year’s Bafta nominees here.

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