Does BAFTA have a diversity problem?

Ellie Pidgeon examines the diversity controvery in this years British film honours

Ellie Pidgeon
18th February 2020
Award season is well underway and last Sunday, London hosted the acclaimed BAFTA awards show. This year the awards were dominated with messages surrounding sustainability and climate change, with guests being encouraged to rewear outfits and the red carpet being reused.

The show was also dominated by the film 1917, which claimed - trophies. As I was able to win tickets for the BAFTA red carpet, I was able to gain a front row seat to meet most of nominated guest list. 

I completely adored 1917 - every shot was beautifully chosen and blended together to produce a cinematic masterpiece. It portrayed the heartbreaking story of two soldiers who were tasked to travel across the destruction of war-torn France during the First World War. It throughly deserved the awards that it won and its success is extremely poignant in these turbulent political times. I can also vouch that both the cast and the director were extremely nice and that they were completely humble in their success!

I was also extremely glad to see Laura Dern win an award for best supporting for her role in Little Women. As a huge fan of the original book, I felt as though Greta Gerwig did the book justice with the help of her phenomenal cast. Whilst I didn’t get to meet Laura, she looked extremely graceful as she waltzed down the red carpet.

Whilst I was largely in agreement with the majority of the awards, I was disappointed by Taron Egerton’s snub for Best Actor for his portrayal of Elton John in Rocketman. Not only is he extremely talented, he is also one of the nicest actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. He was throughly grateful when I praised his work and dedicated time to talk to most of the red carpet goers. 

I was also extremely disappointed in the lack of diversity in many of the categories, following its white and patriarchal history. This year, which saw countless films directed by both women and people of colour, had the opportunity to break history and be more diverse. Greta Gerwig, for example, deserved a BAFTA nod for her beautifully directed film Little Women.  Instead the directors nomination list was filled with white males. 

This years BAFTAs have certainly been subject to criticism, and for the most part, I have to agree. The nominations were certainly lacking in diversity but based upon the nomination list, I am pleased with the eventual winners. I also appreciated the political stance that the BAFTAS took on climate change in an attempt to raise awareness and hopefully, inspire a change. 

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