The BAFTAs are having a real #OscarsSoWhite year…
Just three years ago Joaquin Phoenix delivered a powerful speech after his win, using the platform — instead of celebrating — to chastise the British awards body for its overt failure to recognize actors of color. Everyone cheered at the time, but then this year… it’s clear nothing actually changed.
All 49 winners at the BAFTA film awards last month were white. In a year with a juggernaut like Everything Everywhere All At Once which dominated the Oscars. And they followed up that egregious night with a sharp decline in diversity among nominations for the TV awards announced on Tuesday. The past couple years, about 40% of the nominees were from ethnic backgrounds other than white — this year it dropped to 24%. It may not be intentional, but it’s hard to ignore when it keeps happening.
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The major category critics have pointed to is Leading Actress, in which all six nominees are white. The nominees were Sarah Lancashire for Julia, Vicky McClure for Without Sin, Maxine Peake for Anne, Billie Piper for I Hate Suzie Too, Imelda Staunton for The Crown, and Kate Winslet for I Am Ruth. All great actresses to be sure, but they’ve been honored before — in fact, every single woman on that list has been nominated at least twice before.
Deadline asked BAFTAs CEO Jane Millichip if she was disappointed in the outcome, and her answer was… less than ideal. She said:
“There is representation in that category in the fact that if you look at the age of the actresses and the roles written for them, it is extraordinary. This is something that we’ve discussed for a long time in the television and film world: Are the roles written for women over the age of 40? That is a really impressive result.”
Oof. Really? “Women over the age of 40”?? She’s equating that to diversity? First off, we’re stoked for older women to get great roles and to be celebrated, but over 40 ain’t even exactly that old.
Secondly, WHAT THE ACTUAL EFF IS SHE TALKING ABOUT?? No one has been complaining the BAFTAs are ageist, they’ve been complaining they’re honoring a pretty specific racial profile pretty exclusively. Not even the same thing!
The BAFTAs did later think better of the statement, clarifying Jane was referring to “representation” as a completely separate issue from diversity. But since it was the answer she gave for the lack of diversity, she must think it’s at least part of the same conversation? She certainly seemed to want a pat on the back for it. And that’s a real problem. The Oscars had to actually accept there was a problem before they could start to change.
What do YOU think of the lack of diversity at the BAFTAs??
[Image via BAFTAs/YouTube.]