BAFTA member Phil Davis did the thing (resigned over "embarrassing" 2023 ceremony)

BAFTA member Phil Davis resigns over "embarrassing travesty" ceremony
BAFTA member Phil Davis resigns over "embarrassing travesty" ceremony

Phil Davis

No press is bad press, so one assumes the brain trust behind this year’s BAFTA ceremony is laughing and rubbing their hands together villainously over the continued kerfuffle surrounding the show. Now a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts has actually resigned over it, extending the shelf life of BAFTAs discourse beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. And Ariana DeBose didn’t even have anything to do with it.

At least, actor Phil Davis didn’t cite DeBose’s much-maligned (or celebrated, depending on how you look at it) rap as one of his reasons for quitting the institution, though it may fall under the “embarrassing” umbrella. Specifically, he tweeted that “The BAFTA awards were an embarrassing travesty.” He added, “Cutting deserving winners speeches for toe curling non interviews. Poor Richard E Grant pretending to arrive in a Batmobile and no Bernard Cribbens in memorium [sic]. I resigned my membership.”

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Davis, a fellow Doctor Who alum, wasn’t the only one who protested Cribbens’ omission in the segment; others like his Railway Children co-star Sally Thomsett and Doctor Who director Douglas Mackinnon also voiced their discontent on Twitter. The official BAFTAs Twitter attributed it to “limited time in our broadcast” and promised that “he will be remembered in our upcoming BAFTA Television Awards ceremony broadcast in May.”

But of course, that wasn’t the BAFTAs’ only flub, intentional or otherwise. There was the awkward mix-up in which She Said’s Carey Mulligan was announced as a winner instead of The Banshees Of Inisherin’s Kerry Condon. And All Quiet On The Western Front screenwriter/producer Lesley Paterson also expressed disappointment that her own acceptance speech was cut from the broadcast, according to Variety: “It’s definitely frustrating. Because it really does take a village to make a film and all of the team should be recognized.”

Then there’s what BAFTAs producer Nick Bullen would call the “razzmatazz” and Davis would clearly call “embarrassing,” which includes Grant’s ostentatious arrival and DeBose’s instantly iconic intonation of “An-ge-la Bassett did the thing.” (Pronunciation which, by the way, was pre-planned as a confidently campy classic, per a rehearsal video immediately preceding the show.)

“I think a lot of people don’t like change, and there’s a view that the BAFTAs have to be this slightly stiff, traditional British, middle-England messaging,” Bullen told Variety regarding the DeBose backlash, though it may apply just as well to Davis’ criticisms. He cited American awards shows as having “much more showbiz” and encouraged the BAFTAs to evolve and “move forward with some gentle changes.” He added, “And I think some people don’t like that change, but you know what? You need to get with it because changes are coming.” Perhaps that will alienate members like Davis, but according to Variety the BAFTAs were a ratings hit, so it seems that change is here to stay.

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