Backlash to the 2020 BAFTA Awards came quickly after nominations were announced on Tuesday — and actors of color were completely left out.
While Jennifer Lopez has been a fixture in the supporting actress race all awards season, she failed to pick up a nomination for Hustlers at the BAFTAs, who instead nominated Margot Robbie twice in the category.
Other actors of color to have been omitted include: British actress Cynthia Erivo for Harriet, Asian-American actress Awkwafina for The Farewell, Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong’o for Us, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas for Pain and Glory, Eddie Murphy for Dolemite Is My Name, and Jamie Foxx for Just Mercy.
Awkwafina made history Sunday night at the Golden Globes after she became the first Asian actress to pick up a best actress win. The comedic actress did land a Rising Star BAFTA nomination.
The British Academy Film Awards nominating committee addressed the backlash shortly after the nominations were announced.
“We’d have liked to have seen more diversity in the nominations, it does continue to be an industry-wide issue,” BAFTA’s director of awards, Emma Baehr, told The Hollywood Reporter following the nominations. “I think more films need to be made, and entered, giving people a chance to see them. We’d absolutely like to see more diversity, but I also don’t want to take away from those celebrating today.”
Lopez, 50, had been gaining steam for her performance in Hustlers thanks to a few high-profile nominations, including Golden Globe, SAG and Independent Spirit Awards nods.
Instead, the British Academy Film Awards nominated Globe category winner Laura Dern, Little Women‘s Florence Pugh and Jojo Rabbit‘s Scarlett Johansson for the other three spots.
Robbie, 29, will compete against herself in the supporting actress race, as both her performances in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and Bombshell were recognized.
The nominations were quickly criticized on social media, with fans and critics alike taking issue with the lack of diversity — and pointing to the academy’s long history of not nominating actors of color.
“BAFTA has never nominated Denzel Washington. For anything! Ever! So that tells you something that their show continues to make clear year after year. Come the f— on,” New York Times journalist Kyle Buchanan tweeted.
“An all-white slate of acting nominees, in this of all years. BAFTA, this is not good enough,” critic Guy Lodge echoed.
“BAFTA can give double nominations for margot and scarjo but nothing for lupita, awkwafina, zhao shuzhen, cynthia erivo, parasite cast or greta gerwig with an all male director nominees.. what a f—– joke,” one fan wrote, pointing out how Scarlett Johansson also picked up two nominations, one for supporting actress and one for lead actress.
Overall, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker came away on top with 11 nominations, while Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and The Irishman tied for second with 10 nods. Sam Mendes’ 1917, which just won best motion picture drama at the Globes, earned 9 nominations.
The 2020 BAFTA Awards will take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Feb. 2.