Steve McQueen has said the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) risks becoming irrelevant, redundant and of no interest or importance unless it undergoes reform to avoid a repeat of this year’s nominations where there was a lack of diversity in many of the principal categories, including all the main acting awards.
The director, who has won two Baftas – one for his debut feature film Hunger in 2009 and another for best film in 2014 for 12 Years a Slave – told the Guardian that the British film awards could become obsolete if it fails to recognise diverse talent.
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“After a while you get a bit fed up with it,” he said. “Because if the Baftas are not supporting British talent, if you’re not supporting the people who are making headway in the industry, then I don’t understand what you are there for.
“Unless the Baftas wants to be like the Grammys, which is of no interest to anyone, and has no credibility at all, then they should continue on this path,” he added, referring to the criticism of the Grammys for consistently snubbing black talent. “If not then they have to change. Fact.”
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McQueen said there was a vast amount of British talent that could have been nominated this year including Marianne Jean-Baptiste for In Fabric, Joanna Hogg for The Souvenir, Cynthia Erivo for Harriet, and Daniel Kaluuya for his performance in Queen & Slim. “But not even just British talent, it’s talent in general,” he said, using the example of Lupita Nyongo’o not being nominated for Jordan Peele’s Us. “It’s crazy.”
In response to the backlash on Monday after the nominations were announced, Marc Samuelson, chair of Bafta’s film committee, called the lack of diversity infuriating and said the awards could not make the industry do something about it. His...
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