Bafta Film Awards to add nominees, take other action after war on diversity

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Renee Zellweger and Joaquin Phoenix won top acting awards at the 2020 Bafta Film Awards


The Bafta Film Awards will have more nominees next year with the aim of increasing the diversity of stars and filmmakers who are vying for the honors.

The four categories of actors as well as the award for best director will have six nominees, instead of the usual five.

Ten titles will compete for the Outstanding British Film Award – four more than the usual six.

Earlier this year, Bafta came under heavy criticism after choosing an all-white list of acting nominees.

Meanwhile, no female director has been nominated for the Best Director award for the seventh consecutive year.

Organizers conducted a “detailed review” as a result, and said they would also seek to “significantly target” 1,000 new voting members from under-represented groups.

The move, they said, was part of a series of steps “aimed at ensuring a more representative and inclusive membership that reflects today’s British society”.

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Director Andrew Onwubolu aka Rapman on the set of Blue Story


In January, Blue Story director Rapman was among Bafta’s many critics, claiming he made his gritty urban drama “dirty” by not shortlisting it for any price.

Bafta said the review started out as “a direct response” to the lack of diversity in his 2020 nominations, but had “quickly expanded to encompass all aspects” of the organization.

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Bafta – the British Academy of Cinema and Television Arts – said that expanding its Outstanding British Film Award would allow it to “do more to champion the vast pool of multicultural British talent”.

“One of the key issues that came up time and time again… was that you didn’t see too much deserving work,” said film committee chair Marc Samuelson.

Judged “on merit alone”

“The changes we are implementing are aimed at ensuring that these films are seen and judged purely on merit. ”

The changes to the campaign rules will aim to ensure “a fairer consideration of all films regardless of the marketing budget”.

Bafta said this would ensure that “smaller” films are not “left out of the conversation” and have as much “exposure” as titles backed by the big studios.

More female directors

Changes to Bafta’s voting practices will ensure that the jury of top directors has a guaranteed number of female directors to choose from.

The final six nominees will be drawn from a long list of 20 names, half of which will be women.

Bafta said it would help address “a historic lack of female representation in the director category.”

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Kathryn Bigelow, pictured with Clive Owen in 2010, is the only female Bafta Best Director winner


Only five women were shortlisted for the best director award, which Bafta first presented in 1969.

Kathryn Bigelow, the only woman to win, for The Hurt Locker in 2010, was also the last woman to be selected when she was nominated in 2013 for Zero Dark Thirty.

All voting members will also now be required to complete a “specially designed” course in “Conscious Voter Education”.

Bafta said it would help its members “navigate and recognize the broader societal influences that can impact the voting process”.

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Krishnendu Majumdar is the first Bafta chair from a BAME background


In the case of the overall Best Picture award, all voters will be required to watch all 15 films on the long list. The shortlist will continue to consist of five films.

Bafta’s review was led by its chairman Krishnendu Majumdar, Samuelson, and a steering group that included former Doctor Who actor Noel Clarke, academic Sadia Habib and ITV chief diversity officer Ade Rawcliffe.

Mr. Majumdar congratulated them for “having courageously shared their experiences of racism and discrimination” during “abuse and punishment. [and] captivating sessions.

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Noel Clarke played Mickey Smith in Doctor Who and directed several films


“This is a watershed moment for Bafta,” the television producer said in a statement. “The Academy has never opened like this before. ”

Bafta CEO Amanda Berry agreed, saying the review was “a fantastic opportunity… to make substantial cultural and organizational changes.”

Bafta said “significant changes” to its television prices would be announced in October and that its prices for games and children would also be reviewed.

The Bafta 2021 film awards are scheduled to take place on April 11, two months later than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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