Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) and Dominic Cooper (Preacher, The Duchess) have announced the nominations for this year’s EE British Academy Film Awards, live this morning.
In regards to diversity, the BAFTAs were kind of predictable. Naomie Harris & Dev Patel did it for the Brits. Harris got a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her Role in Moonlight. Dev Patel is up for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Lion
Irish star Ruth Negga, has been nominated for a 2017 BAFTA Rising Star, but didn’t get acknowledgement for her Golden Globe nominated role in Loving.
What saves us from the British diverse perspective are the well deserved nominations for Dionne Walker (Producer) & George Amponsah (Director) of the hard hitting, Mark Duggan documentary, The Hard Stop both nominated in the Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. Along with Babak Anvari, nominated in the same category for his film Under the Shadow a film about a mother and daughter who struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home.
Then it all goes American, with Viola Davis up against Harris with a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences. Mahershala Ali goes up against Patel with a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Moonlight.
Director/Writer Barry Jenkins is nominated for Best Original Screenplay for Moonlight. Missed out on Best Director. Moonlight is up for Best Film.
Ava DuVernay gets a much deserved recognition for Best Documentary for her outstanding film, The 13th.
In regards to ‘themes’, American Writer Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures), and Luke Davies (Lion) have been nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Lion is also up for Best British Film along with Under the Shadow. Girl With All the Gifts which stars Sennia Nanua in the lead, and boasts a strong British black cast is nominated in the Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for Mike Carey (Writer), Camille Gatin (Producer).
So, predictable in that Viola Davis, Mahershala Ali, Moonlight and Barry Jenkins were undoubtedly going to be nominated. Naomie Harris who was up for a Golden Globe, was always a sure nomination. A little surprised Denzel Washington wasn’t in there for Fences. It’s interesting to ponder ‘laziness’ when nominating Davis over Washington. Davis is beginning to be the Meryl Streep of the black screen world. Which is a fantastic thing and well deserved, but then when we’re looking at mainstream organisations and diversity, let’s not make her be the safe default. Good to see Dev Patel nominated. But he’s no stranger to BAFTA love.
I’m extremely happy that Walker and Amponsah, have been recognised for The Hard Stop. It’s an important statement. The Hard Stop is a brilliant film. But importantly it’s British black made. That said, I’m surprised Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom hasn’t been getting recognition. Seemingly being pushed aside for the other political interracial relationship themed film, Loving starring Ruth Negga. Which although Negga is up for a Rising Star award, she didn’t get recognised for an acting nomination and Loving overall didn’t get a BAFTA mention. So why not A United Kingdom?
David Oyelowo has put in double time with his role in AUK and Queen of Katwe (which is also being horribly over looked this awards season), surely he should be nominated, after his Selma snub? Asante, deserves a Director nomination, it’s no mean feat directing such a rousing film, based on difficult themes and she’s a woman, and she’s African British. More importantly with A Way of Life (2004) and Belle (2013) in her arsenal, she’s not just a pretty face either!
The other popular black themed films, Hidden Figures and Fences overall have also been ignored by BAFA. I suppose, not really surprising… as both haven’t been released in the UK yet, both are very heavy African-American stories. BAFTA have a lot to consider in regards to all the other white themed, and directly British films to wade through (no shade) – I Daniel Blake comes to mind which was recognised and not forgetting Lion – a brilliant film, which veers closely to being all ‘white savioury’ but overall story way superceding that whole thing.
What is glaring about BAFTA’s nomination predictability are the lack of British Black made films, from our perspective and British BAME made / themed films overall. WHERE ARE THEY!? With BAFTA’s new diversity rules about if films don’t consider the BFI Diversity Standards they won’t be considered, this may signal a bit of a change. But it’s still unclear how the rules will translate to independent Black British filmmakers with a great idea and minimal to no budget? Who is our Barry Jenkins, and when will he or she be worthy of a BAFTA nomination?
The 2017 BAFTA Film Awards will be held at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 12 February.
Read TBB’s 88% #OutOf100 review of Hidden Figures here
Read TBB’s 90% #OutOf100 review of Lion here
Read TBB’s 100% #OutOf100 review of The 13th here