BAFTA Winners Group Photo Provokes Anger Over “Deeply Regressive” Lack Of Diversity

The #BaftaSoWhite hashtag was circulating once again on social media after the BAFTA Film Awards on Sunday night.

Anger about a lack of diversity among those who clinched prizes coalesced around a group picture of all the award winners on stage at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

Observers pointed out how the image appeared to feature just a single Black person: Alison Hammond, who co-hosted the BAFTAs with Richard E Grant.

Del Walker, a video game character artist and BAFTA member, said the photo showed that major awards ceremonies “appear to value European storylines about Europeans or White Americans.”

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Ashanti Omkar, a film a TV commentator and BAFTA member, said the group shot provoked “deep pain in the pit of my stomach.”

Saima Mohsin, a Sky News and ITV presenter, added:

Hanna Ines Flint, presenter of MTV Movies UK, described it as “qwhite a night,” while Philippa Childs, the head of union Bectu, remarked: “Those @BAFTA voting changes yet to have an impact I see.”

The concern follows BAFTA dedicating significant attention to boosting diversity during its film awards process, with Chair Krish Majumdar making it one of his top priorities.

A grueling diversity review gave rise to 120 changes across its voting, membership, and campaigning process, including increasing the films viewed by voters and adding 1,000 members from underrepresented backgrounds.

The organization said 40% of acting nominees this year were from ethnically diverse backgrounds after all 20 nominees were white in 2020, when winner Joaquin Phoenix said in his acceptance speech that the industry must work hard to “truly understand systemic racism.”

Viola Davis lost out to Cate Blanchett in the Leading Actress category. Daryl McCormack, the son of a white Irish mother and Black American father, competed with Austin Butler for Leading Actor.

There is a feeling at BAFTA that similar winners will be crowned at other ceremonies, where films led by white actors and creators, such as All Quiet on the Western Front, are expected to dominate. This, however, overlooks the success of Everything Everywhere All at Once, which performed well at the DGA Awards.

BAFTA declined to comment.

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