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How BAFTA is tackling its diversity problem

Creative Insight
Cast your mind back to this time last year and you may remember, amid the daily deluge of Covid related headlines, a particularly damning news story about one of the most important events on the film calendar, the BAFTAs. The awards show faced a fierce backlash after it failed to recognise a single non-white leading actor in its 2020 nominations list, with #BaftasSoWhite swiftly trending on social and prominent industry figures speaking out against the lack of diversity.
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Off the back of a successful 2021 awards, BAFTA’s Krishnendu Majumdar and Anna Higgs discuss how the academy is levelling the playing field for everyone – and what other awards can learn from its example
The systemic problems with awards isn’t just a BAFTA issue; the debate around the need for greater representation has been raging across the creative industries for a good few years now. Only in February, the Golden Globes was the subject of a social media storm after it snubbed Michaela Coel’s earth-shattering series I May Destroy You entirely – leading one of the writers on Netflix’s not so groundbreaking nominee, Emily in Paris, to write about the unjustness of the result.

BAFTA’s 2021 rising star, Bukky Bakray

BAFTA’s journey to unpacking its diversity problem began in 2018, when it announced that in order to be eligible for the awards, filmmakers would need to demonstrate that they have worked to increase the representation of underrepresented groups. Under the reign of producer-directror Krishnendu Majumdar – the first person of colour to be appoint chair in the Academy’s 73-year history – this work has been hugely accelerated over the past year.