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7 Jan, 2020 15:59

#BAFTAsSoWhite trending as awards controversy rears its head again

#BAFTAsSoWhite trending as awards controversy rears its head again

The nominees for this year’s BAFTA awards have one thing in common, they’re all white. Commenters have taken to Twitter to complain, under the #BAFTAsSoWhite hashtag.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts unveiled its 2020 nominations on Tuesday, creating a storm of controversy in the process. All of the 18 stars tipped for best actor, actress, supporting actor, and supporting actress, are caucasian. Two actresses, Margot Robbie and Scarlett Johansson, were nominated twice. 

Film fans took to Twitter to vent. “Things need to change,” screenwriter Sarah Dollard wrote. “Membership demographics, voting procedure, the levelling of the playing field re screenings & screeners. This can’t happen again.”

Tuesday’s controversy is not the first time a hashtag campaign has been deployed to complain about the supposed lack of diversity in the entertainment industry. The 2015, 2016, and 2017 BAFTAs were also panned for excluding minority actors and actresses. Across the Atlantic, the #OscarsSoWhite campaign kicked off in 2016 too, with even President Barack Obama weighing in, asking Hollywood if people of all races were “getting a fair shot.”

As for whether the movies themselves were any good, that much was lost in the discussion. Commenters on Twitter insisted that actors Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Lopez, Awkwafina, and Cynthia Erivo put in performances worthy of an award. Some cynical commenters disagreed, however, and argued“if you ain’t good enough you don’t deserve a nomination.”

BAFTA’s awards director Emma Baehr addressed the controversy on Tuesday, telling the Hollywood Reporter that her organization would be happy to nominate non-white actors and actresses, if enough films featuring them were submitted for review.

“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.”

Also on rt.com Too white, or too woke? ‘Little Women’ shredded in media gauntlet, but critics are the ones flaunting their privilege

In addition to the race controversy, fans were outraged at BAFTA’s decision to nominate only men in its ‘Best Director’ category, with many complaining that ‘Little Women’ director Greta Gerwig deserved a nomination. Gerwig was also snubbed at the recent Golden Globes, which also featured an all-male shortlist of directors. 

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