Leading figures in the British film industry have welcomed the first set of BAFTA Film Award nominations to emerge since the process was changed to improve diversity.
In stark contrast to last year’s situation, when every last one of the acting nominees was white and there were no women nominated for Best Director, this year’s list sees two thirds of those in contention for the main acting prizes coming from minority ethnic communities, with the same proportion of the six directing nominees being women.
But efforts to ensure that there were more non-white nominees has resulted in a number of high-profile snubs among stars who were previously regarded as front-runners in the Oscar-campaign, such as Mank’s Gary Oldman, The Father’s Olivia Colman and Carey Mulligan, for Promising Young Woman.
Both films picked up six nominations, but not for their leads, who were beaten to the shortlist.
A favourite in the Best Actor race will be the late Chadwick Boseman, who’s final role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has already won a Golden Globe and a London Film Critics Circle award. He’ll be up against Sir Anthony Hopkins for The Father, Tahar Rahim for The Mauritanian, Sound of Metal’s Riz Ahmed, The White Tiger‘s Ardash Gourav and Mads Mikkelsen for Another Round.
The Best Actress category will see Nomadland’s Frances McDormand up against newcomer Bukky Bukray for Rocks, Clemency’s Alfre Woodard, Wunmi Mosaku for His House, The Forty-Year-Old Version’s Radha Blank and Vanessa Kirby for Pieces of a Woman.
In the supporting categories, Daniel Kaluuya will be a front-runner for his portrayal of the Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. He’ll face competition from One Night In Miami’s Leslie Odom Jr, Clarke Peters from Da 5 Bloods, Sound of Metal’s Paul Raci, Minari’s Alan Kim and Barry Keoghan for Calm With Horses.
Kaluuya’s co-star Dominique Fishback is in the running for best supporting actress, alongside Kosar Ali for Rocks, Niamh Algar for Calm With Horses, Ashley Madekwe for County Lines, Yuh-Jung Youn for Minari and the Golden Globe winner Maria Bakalova, for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
Unusually, two of the five films up for Best Film have no representation in the acting categories at all; Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Promising Young Woman will be in contention with The Father, Nomadland and The Mauritanian.
There’s a wider field in the race for the Outstanding British Film award, The Father, The Mauritanian and Promising Young Woman facing competition from Rocks, Calm With Horses, His House, The Dig, Mogul Mowgli, Limbo and Rose Glass’s debut Saint Maud.
Glass and her producer Oliver Kassman are also in the running for the Outstanding British debut award, alongside His House writer/director Remi Weekes, Moffie’s writer/producer Jack Sidey, Rocks writers Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson, and Limbo writer/director Ben Sharrock and producer Irune Gurtubai, who’s previous feature Pikadero was a slew of awards on the festival circuit, including at Edinburgh. BAFTA said that in exceptional circumstances, film-makers whose previous features have not had a theatrical release in the UK can still be considered in its debut category.
Another category at the forefront of the diversity argument is Best Director, where Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao will be a front-runner, but fellow women Sarah Gavron for Rocks, Jasmila Žbanić for Quo Vadis, Aida? and Shannon Murphy for Babyteeth will challenge her, alongside Thomas Vinterberg for Another Round and Lee Isaac Chung for Minari. Half of the directing nominees are also in the running for the Best Foreign Language category.
The bad press which has followed long-term underrepresentation from ethnic minority actors and female directors have certainly been overturned for this year at least, but some observers have put the change down to the pandemic pushing smaller films into the public arena that might previously have been hidden away, largely unseen, online. This has been the case both in terms of fewer high profile films being available, with studios holding back their releases, to more online screenings, ensuring that more BAFTA members get to see the films they are voting for.
The Chair of BAFTA, Krishnendu Majumdar, said the organisation had reviewed its awards process with the intention of levelling the playing field and said some of those changes had been reflected in the breadth and depth of those nominated.
While awards bodies around the world have been trying to tackle the same problem of diversity, each has come up with its own solutions, which are likely to see nominations lists vary more this year than in the past, with the American Academy more likely to nominate films such as Regina King’s One Night In Miami over Sarah Gavron’s Rocks.
And with higher-profile films set to hit big screens once the pandemic is over, more familiar names could return to the awards lists, and overdue as it might be, some could feel that having 67% of acting nominees being non-white in a country that, at the most recent census, had only 12% of its population coming from ethnic minority backgrounds, the balance might have shifted too far.
With Rocks and Nomadland going into the contest with seven nominations each, followed by The Father, Mank, Promising Young Woman and Minari on six, the winners will be announced in two ceremonies over the weekend of the 10th and 11th of April, the first for the craft and technical categories and the higher-profile awards being handed out on the following day. The winners will be selected from the following full list of nominees:
Promising Young Woman
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Outstanding British film
Calm With Horses
Promising Young Woman
Bukky Bakray – Rocks
Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Wunmi Mosaku – His House
Alfre Woodard – Clemency
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Adarsh Gourav – The White Tiger
Sir Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Mads Mikkelsen – Another Round
Tahar Rahim – The Mauritanian
Niamh Algar – Calm With Horses
Kosar Ali – Rocks
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Dominique Fishback – Judas and the Black Messiah
Ashley Madekwe – County Lines
Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
Barry Keoghan – Calm With Horses
Alan Kim – Minari
Leslie Odom Jr – One Night In Miami…
Clarke Peters – Da 5 Bloods
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
Another Round – Thomas Vinterberg
Babyteeth – Shannon Murphy
Minari – Lee Isaac Chung
Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
Quo Vadis, Aida? – Jasmila Žbanić
Rocks – Sarah Gavron
EE Rising Star Award (voted for by the public)
Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer
His House – Remi Weekes (writer/director)
Limbo – Ben Sharrock (writer/director), Irune Gurtubai (producer)
Moffie – Jack Sidey (writer/producer)
Rocks – Theresa Ikoko, Claire Wilson (writers)
Saint Maud – Rose Glass (writer/director), Oliver Kassman (producer)
Film not in the English language
Quo Vadis, Aida?
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
My Octopus Teacher
The Social Dilemma
Another Round – Tobias Lindholm, Thomas Vinterberg
Mank – Jack Fincher
Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
Rocks – Theresa Ikoko, Claire Wilson
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin
The Dig – Moira Buffini
The Father – Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller
The Mauritanian – Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani, MB Traven
Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
The White Tiger – Ramin Bahrani
Mank – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
Minari – Emile Mosseri
News of the World – James Newton Howard
Promising Young Woman – Anthony Willis
Soul – Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
Judas and the Black Messiah – Sean Bobbitt
Mank – Erik Messerschmidt
The Mauritanian – Alwin H Küchler
News of the World – Dariusz Wolski
Nomadland – Joshua James Richards
Ammonite – Michael O’Connor
The Dig – Alice Babidge
Emma – Alexandra Byrne
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Ann Roth
Mank – Trish Summerville
The Father – Yorgos Lamprinos
Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
Promising Young Woman – Frédéric Thoraval
Sound of Metal – Mikkel EG Nielsen
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Alan Baumgarten
The Dig – Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana Macdonald
The Father – Peter Francis, Cathy Featherstone
Mank – Donald Graham Burt, Jan Pascale
News of the World – David Crank, Elizabeth Keenan
Rebecca – Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
Make-up and hair
The Dig – Jenny Shircore
Hillbilly Elegy – Patricia Dehaney, Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Matiki Anoff, Larry M Cherry, Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal
Mank – Kimberley Spiteri, Gigi Williams
Pinocchio – Mark Coulier
Greyhound – nominees TBC
News of the World – Michael Fentum, William Miller, Mike Prestwood Smith, John Pritchett, Oliver Tarney
Nomadland – Sergio Diaz, Zach Seivers, M Wolf Snyder
Soul – Coya Elliott, Ren Klyce, David Parker
Sound of Metal – Jamie Baksht, Nicolas Becker, Phillip Bladh, Carlos Cortes, Michelle Couttolenc
Special visual effects
Greyhound – Pete Bebb, Nathan McGuinness, Sebastian von Overheidt
The Midnight Sky – Matt Kasmir, Chris Lawrence, David Watkins
Mulan – Sean Faden, Steve Ingram, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury
The One and Only Ivan – Santiago Colomo Martinez, Nick Davis, Greg Fisher
Tenet – Scott Fisher, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lockley
Calm With Horses – Shaheen Baig
Judas and the Black Messiah – Alexa L Fogel
Minari – Julia Kim
Promising Young Woman – Lindsay Graham Ahanonu, Mary Vernieu
Rocks – Lucy Pardee
British short film
British short animation
The Fire Next Time
The Owl and the Pussycat
The Song of A Lost Boy