BAFTA Awards Face Criticism for All-White Winners

London, UK - June 19th 2018 : Bafta (British Academy film and television awards) award statue trophy on display stock, photo, photograph, — Photo by cheekylorns2/Deposit Photos

The BAFTA Awards were handed out Sunday in London and the winners were overwhelmingly white, sparking renewed calls for change.

Netflix’s German anti-war epic All Quiet on the Western Front led the winners list with seven awards. It was followed by The Banshees of Inisherin and Elvis, with four awards each.

In the acting categories, Elvis star Austin Butler won the Leading Actor award, and the Leading Actress trophy went to Cate Blanchett for Tár.

Kerry Condon picked up the Supporting Actress award for The Banshees of Inisherin, and her co-star Barry Keoghan won the Supporting Actor trophy for his performance in the film.

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The problem some television viewers and social media users had was all four winners in the acting categories were white, as were the other winners, despite a number of Black and Asian performers receiving nominations.

In the lead actress category, Malaysian performer Michelle Yeoh was nominated for Everything Everywhere All At Once, Viola Davis was nominated in the category for The Woman King and Danielle Deadwyler was nominated for Till.

Hong Chau, who is Asian American, was nominated in the Supporting Actress category for her performance in The Whale. Dolly de Leon of the Philippines received a nomination in the category for her role in Triangle of Sadness, and Angela Bassett was nominated for her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Asian American actor Ke Huy Quan was nominated in the supporting actor category, as was Jamaican-British actor Micheal Ward for Empire of Light.

Afro-Irish performer Daryl McCormack, Afro-British actress Naomi Ackie and Ugandan-British actress Sheila Atim were nominated for the Rising Star Award, but they all lost to Emma Mackey, who is French-British and white.

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African-American filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood was nominated for directing The Woman King, but did not win.

Once the winners were announced, the 2020 hashtag #BAFTAsSoWhite began to trend again.

“The BAFTA actor awards going to four white actors when there were brilliant performances nominated from Michelle Yeoh, Viola Davis, Daniel Deadwyler, Ke Huy Quan, Angela Bassett, Hong Chau and Daryl McCormack feels very #BAFTASsowhite,” one person tweeted.

“Literally all… white people. @BAFTA should be appalled,” another person tweeted.

“Business as sickening usual. Watch how they’ll try to style it out, ‘Ultimately, the best people won on the night regardless of colour etc etc. Oh & we had Alison Hammond & other Black women presenting & nominated so we can’t be racist!!'” another person tweeted.

“Your four acting winners at BAFTA! Seems a little, hmm, what’s the word” film journalist Brian Rowe tweeted alongside a photo of the four white acting winners.

In 2020, the British Academy Film Awards announced what it called “wide-ranging changes” in response to the lack of diversity in the 2020 BAFTA nominations.

But so far it seems little has changed.

The full list of winners can be viewed on the BAFTAs website.