Updated on Feb 3, 2020. Posted on Feb 2, 2020

    Joaquin Phoenix, Prince William And Graham Norton All Addressed The Movie Industry's Lack Of Diversity In Speeches At The BAFTAs

    "There's been a bit of chat about white male privilege, and you can kind of see why."

    The 2020 BAFTAs opened by addressing the criticism over its lack of diversity.

    Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Releasing

    Speaking on stage in London, host Graham Norton began his opening monologue by saying: "2019 will be remembered as the year white men finally broke through! They did it! What am I talking about? We did it!"

    BBC

    "There's been a bit of chat about white male privilege," he went on, "And you can sort of see why. There's 11 nominations for Joker, which is essentially the story of a white man who makes himself even whiter."

    BBC

    He continued: "And how brilliant was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? It takes a nostalgic look back at the Hollywood of 50 years ago — a misogynistic, male-dominated industry resistant to change. As I said, a look back at the Hollywood of 50 years ago."

    BBC

    Later in the ceremony, Prince William addressed the lack of diversity in an impassioned speech.

    PA

    He said: "I am particularly proud to stand here tonight having served as BAFTAs president for the last 10 years. However, I must admit I don’t know whether I should be proud or slightly alarmed about the number of winners over the last decade who have portrayed members of my own family.

    Both here in the UK and in many other countries across the world, we are lucky to have incredible film makers, actor, producers, directors, technicians — men and women from all backgrounds and ethnicities enriching our lives though film.

    Yet in 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process – that simply cannot be right in this day and age."

    And, during his acceptance speech for Best Actor, Joaquin Phoenix addressed systemic racism within the entertainment industry.

    BBC

    He said: “I feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege. I think we send a very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here. I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, people just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work. This is not a self-righteous condemnation, because I'm ashamed to say I'm part of the problem."

    "We have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. I think it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it. That’s on us," he concluded.

    BBC

    The comments come just three weeks after this year's nominations were announced to widespread backlash.

    Not a SINGLE person of colour was nominated at the BAFTA's this year. They could have nominated Lupita, Awkafina, Zhao Shuzhen, Jennifer Lopez, Cynthia Erivo, Antonio Banderas, Eddie Murphy, or any one of the Parasite actors, they didn't. #BAFTAS #BaftasSoWhite

    Among the nominations, one thing stood out in particular — the fact that every person nominated in the major acting categories was white.

    BAFTA

    What's more, Scarlett Johansson was nominated twice — for her lead role in Marriage Story and supporting role in Jojo Rabbit, while Margot Robbie took up two spots in the Supporting Actress category.

    People online were quick to point out the snubs for films including Us and Harriet, which were critically acclaimed and had been recognised at other major awards ceremonies.

    No nominations for Queen & Slim No nominations for Harriet No nominations for Blue Story No nominations for Us Appalling. #BAFTASSoWhite

    Others criticised Jennifer Lopez being overlooked for her role in Hustlers, as well as the cast of the movie Parasite, which was not represented in any of the acting categories.

    And before too long, the hashtag #BAFTAsSoWhite was trending on Twitter.

    #BAFTASSoWhite they nominated the same white woman twice in the same category so they wouldn’t have to give a slot to a deserving actor of color.

    It wasn't just the lack of racial diversity that was criticised, because once again, every person nominated for Best Director was male.

    I've already heard so many "Well, actually" comments on this hell-site from people insisting that the Globes/BAFTAs/Oscars just didn't have any women to choose from for the Best Director category. Bless. You want to play that game? Okay, I'm in. I've got time.

    While films like Little Women and Booksmart were acknowledged in the Adapted and Original Screenplay categories, Greta Gerwig and Olivia Wilde were both snubbed for Best Director.

    Up until tonight's ceremony, the only comment on the matter had been from the BAFTA deputy chair, Krishnendu Majumdar, who said it was "worth pointing out" that films by women directors had been recognised in other categories.

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    "Greta Gerwig — she’s been nominated this year for Adapted Screenplay..." he said. "I think it’s worth pointing out there are 13 female directors nominated across all our nominations, including Lulu Wang for The Farewell and also the director for Frozen 2."

    Ellie Woodward is Celebrity and Entertainment Editor for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Woodward at ellie.woodward@buzzfeed.com.

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