The Snubs Of The 2020 BAFTA Nominations Tell The Same Infuriating Story

Photo Courtesy Of Universal Pictures
Here's a fairy tale for you. Once upon a time, there was an awards season that saw actors and directors from across the land – from a rich variety of backgrounds with exciting, new stories to tell – equally celebrated. The beacons of (well-paid) creative inspiration were a representative reflection of the audiences who gathered around big shiny screens to watch their tales. And when it came time to bestow gold statues upon these creators, there'd be no animosity towards the powers that be for excluding entire communities or demographics from the chance to thank their managers, moms, and mentors on an oversized stage. Wouldn't that be nice?
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We're not in happily-ever-after land, though, are we? Out here in the real world, we're deep in another round of film awards, and #BAFTAsSoWhite is trending on Twitter.
On Tuesday morning the British Academy released the list of nominees for the 2020 BAFTAs, and the immediate response has been overwhelming disappointment at the lack of ethnic diversity in the selection. Joker received 11 nominations, while The Irishman and Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood received 10 each — all three films are about and directed by white men.
The most striking omissions can be found in the main acting categories – Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor – in which not a single person of color has been nominated, despite the slate of award-worthy films that were released last year and deserve the appropriate recognition.
There is not a single nomination for Queen & Slim, the critically acclaimed film starring 2018 BAFTA Rising Star winner Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, about a young black couple on the run after shooting a white police officer in self-defense. Not a single nod for 2019 BAFTA nominee Cynthia Erivo, nor her film Harriet, which received two Golden Globe nominations and is (or was) positioned favorably in the Oscars race. Despite newcomer Micheal Ward being up for the coveted Rising Star award after his performance in Blue Story, the film itself has not been nominated. Neither has Lupita Nyong'o for Jordan Peele's Us, nor Zhao Shuzhen or Awkwafina for The Farewell, nor Yeo-jeong Jo (or any of the cast, for that matter) for Parasite. The list of non-white potential nominees could go on, but the fact that Margot Robbie has been nominated twice in the Best Supporting Actress category — once for a role in which she speaks for all of two minutes — only makes the category's whitewashing sting even more.
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Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Stringer/Getty Images
The gender situation is no better, particularly over in the Best Director category where Greta Gerwig has been snubbed. Her film Little Women has at the very least been acknowledged in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, but the dismissal of Gerwig's credentials as a director, alongside those of Lulu Wang (The Farewell) and Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), only amplifies the bigger, historic problem the film industry has with female filmmakers.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday morning, BAFTA chief executive Amanda Berry said she was "very disappointed" and had "hoped we'd see at least one female director." She added: "BAFTA has a role to play here. It can’t tell the industry which films to greenlight and who to hire, but what it can do is make sure it is finding and supporting talented people."
There's some small comfort to be had from the four nominations earned by For Sama. The harrowing documentary created waves as it moved through the film festival circuit last year and made a huge impact on audiences when it landed on Channel 4. It's now nominated for Best British Film, Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director or Producer, Film Not In The English Language, and Best Documentary.
The most infuriating thing about this is that the lack of people of color and women in the nominee pool isn't a surprise at all. It's not new, and it's almost expected despite coming at a time when the need for diversity is readily addressed in the industry and shouted about on social media but, clearly, is failing to effect real change. It's hard to anticipate when we'll reach a tipping point in the industry's sincere recognition of the talents and achievements of people of color and women; for now we can hope that the outrage which prompts trends like #BAFTAsSoWhite is taken as seriously as it should be. This repetitive exclusion isn't just a hashtag, it's a painful reality which reminds communities that they're not welcome in the prestigious white male circle that is the film awards.
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See the full list of nominations below:

Best Film

1917
The Irishman
Joker
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite

Best British Film

1917
Bait
For Sama
Rocketman
Sorry We Missed You
The Two Popes

Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director Or Producer

Bait – Mark Jenkin (writer/director), Kate Byers, Linn Waite (producers)
For Sama – Waad Al-Kateab (director/producer), Edward Watts (director)
Maiden – Alex Holmes (director)
Only You – Harry Wootliff (writer/director)
Retablo – Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio (writer/director)

Film Not In The English Language

The Farewell
For Sama
Pain and Glory
Parasite
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Best Documentary

American Factory
Apollo 11
Diego Maradona
For Sama
The Great Hack

Best Animated Film

Frozen II
Klaus
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Toy Story 4

Best Director

1917 – Sam Mendes
The Irishman – Martin Scorsese
Joker – Todd Phillips
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino
Parasite – Bong Joon-ho

Best Original Screenplay

Booksmart – Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Katie Silberman
Knives Out – Rian Johnson
Marriage Story – Noah Baumbach
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino
Parasite – Han Jin Won, Bong Joon-ho

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman – Steven Zaillian
Jojo Rabbit – Taika Waititi
Joker – Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
Little Women – Greta Gerwig
The Two Popes – Anthony Mccarten

Best Actress

Jessie Buckley – Wild Rose
Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
Charlize Theron – Bombshell
Renée Zellweger – Judy

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Taron Egerton – Rocketman
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh – Little Women
Margot Robbie – Bombshell
Margot Robbie – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
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Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes
Al Pacino – The Irishman
Joe Pesci – The Irishman
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Score

1917
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best Casting

Joker
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
The Personal History of David Copperfield
The Two Popes

Best Cinematography

1917
The Irishman
Joker
Le Mans '66
The Lighthouse

Best Editing

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Le Mans '66
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Production Design

1917
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Costume Design

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Judy
Little Women
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Make Up & Hair

1917
Bombshell
Joker
Judy
Rocketman

Best Sound

1917
Joker
Le Mans '66
Rocketman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best Special Visual Effects

1917
Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman
The Lion King
Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker

Best British Short Animation

Grandad Was a Romantic
In Her Boots
The Magic Boat

Best British Short Film

Azaar
Goldfish
Kamali
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
The Trap

EE Rising Star award (voted for by the public)

Awkwafina
Jack Lowden
Kaitlyn Dever
Kelvin Harrison Jr
Micheal Ward

BAFTA Fellowship

Kathleen Kennedy
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