BAFTA Promises Change in Their Voting System to Address Inclusion Issues

     January 9, 2020

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In the ongoing 2020 awards show saga, one unfortunate theme seems to keep cropping up: A frustrating lack of inclusion regarding women (particularly in the directing field) and people of color (particularly in the acting field). We saw it with the Golden Globe nominees, and we saw it with the DGA nominees. And now, in the wake of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ (BAFTA) nominees for excellence in 2019 film being chock-full of white men, white performers, and not much else, it’s clear a change is needed. And BAFTA promises a thorough review of how films and performers are voted on, with an eye on working toward this inclusion issue for the 2021 awards.

Marc Samuelson, the head of BAFTA’s film committee, told Variety that a “careful and detailed review within and outside the membership” would be forthcoming, to address the “infuriating” lack of diversity evident in their nominees.

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Image via Columbia Pictures

There is absolute openness to change, and the organization made clear its position on the noms and that it was not satisfied. Change is required – what that is, is complex and needs calm, careful thought.

Currently, first round voting for nominees is allowed for every member of BAFTA for some categories like acting, while other categories only accept votes from juries and specialist members. Then, in the next round, every member of the 6,500-strong organization votes on the nominees in nearly every category, resulting in the winners. Samuelson has not spoken publicly about how BAFTA could potentially change this process with an eye on inclusion — and he likely won’t for awhile, given his desire for “calm, careful thought.” However, he has encouraged every single member of BAFTA — and even non-members — to voice their opinions on the review undertaken, any potential voting process changes, and anything else they wish to express. He promises that noticeable change will be seen in time for the 2021 BAFTA Awards.

The 2020 BAFTAs take place February 2 in London’s Royal Albert Hall. For some optimistic news regarding inclusion in the entertainment industry, here’s a study that gets into why 2020 will be an incredible year for female directors. Plus — Margot Robbie on how she’s tackling the issue head on.

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