BAFTA boosts nominee numbers to encourage diversity

BAFTA has brought in more changes designed to increase the diversity of the actors and film-makers recognised at its annual film awards ceremony.

1917 dominated the 2020 BAFTAs

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has been reviewing its rules since criticism of this year’s nominations list, in which everyone up for the acting awards was white. And for the seventh year in a row, there were no women nominated for Best Director. The 2020 ceremony was dominated by the First World War drama 1917, directed by starring almost exclusively white men.

The acting and directing categories will now include six nominees, rather than the traditional five.

And in order to ensure that a broader range of films are recognised, the short-list for the Outstanding British Film prize will increase from six to ten.

A total of more than 120 changes have been announced as a result of what BAFTA called a “detailed review,” including an attempt to target 1,000 new voting members from under-represented groups, ensuring that everyone who votes for the nominees has seen all of the long-listed films and designing a training course that all voters will have to take.

BAFTA said the new measures were designed to “ensure a more representative and inclusive membership that reflects today’s British society”.

The UK chair of the equality campaign group Time’s Up, Dame Heather Rabbatts, welcomed what she described as a “bold plan” but stressed that it was only the “start of the journey.”

BAFTA will announce what it calls “significant changes” to its TV awards next month.

Today’s announcement comes hot on the heels of new diversity guidelines announced by America’s Oscars Academy, which were themselves based on criteria adopted by both BAFTA and the BFI, nearly four years ago.