BAFTA Winners Photo Sparks Outrage Over Lack of Diversity: ‘I’m Not Proud to Be a BAFTA Member Today’

The group photo features just one Black person: the ceremony’s co-host Alison Hammond

Austin Butler poses with the Leading Actor Award for his performance in 'Elvis' during the 2023 EE BAFTA Film Awards
Dominic Lipinski/Getty Images

A photo of all the 2023 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards winners sparked outrage on social media Sunday night for its shown lack of diversity.

The image features just one Black person: the ceremony’s co-host Alison Hammond. You can view in the tweet embed below.

BAFTA member and film and TV commentator Ashanti Omkar said she was “disappointed” but not surprised.

“I’ve felt this deep pain in the pit of my stomach of late, as I’m seeing the #film industry behind the scenes and the supremacy that it flaunts in my face so much, day by day, so it’s not a surprising result, but in 2023, it is deeply regressive and uncalled for,” she added.

Omkar had replied to a tweet from BuzzFeed UK head of culture Ada Enechi who wrote: “2 steps forward, 10 steps back #EEBAFTAs.”

“Not even Oscar/GoldenGlobe winners Michelle Yeoh, Angela Basset, Viola Davis or Ke Huy Quan could break through. All judging systems have biases but this is broken,” BAFTA member and Naughty Dog senior character artist Del Walker said. “I’m not proud to be a BAFTA member today.”

Walker emphasized that the criticism “isn’t about handouts or forcing diversity” but “asking the WORLD to submit films yet the people judging it only appear to value European storylines about Europeans or White Americans seems redundant.”

“It’s like having a Food contest judged by Fishermen who only like Seafood,” he added.

“I watched clips of the #BAFTAS and didn’t see a single black or brown person win,” SkyNews and ITV presenter Saima Mohsin said. “Not because they’e not white but because they’re good, really good and the best. In so many categories. Overlooked and ignored time & again. So depressing. Unconscious bias & systemic #BaftasSoWhite.”

MTV UK Movies presenter Hanna Ines Flint simply wrote “Qwhite a night. #BAFTAS”

Other users tweeted #BAFTASoWhite along with their criticism of the photo.

“POC were nominated, presented and also performed at the awards, apparently that’s enough diversity at #BAFTAs #baftasowhite,” one user wrote.

“Look, what’s the point in having a jury decide the nominees in the acting, directing, and casting categories if the winners are going to reflect the whiteness of the voting body? #BAFTASoWhite,” another said.

The latest backlash comes after the BAFTAs were slammed in 2020 for a similar lack of diversity that awards season. The most notable criticism that year came from best actor winner Joaquin Phoenix, who railed against the all-white acting nominations at the time.

“I think that we send a very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here,” Phoenix said at the time. “I think that’s the message we’re sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from.”

Following the incident, BAFTA launched a review and promised to make over 120 wide-ranging changes to address the lack in diversity, including a commitment to diversify BAFTA’s membership and meaningfully target 1,000 new members from under-represented groups.

As of June 2021, the organization said 37.4% of its current members were women, 12.2% were from minority ethnic groups, 5.3% had a disability, 9.7% were LGBTQI+. It also noted that it reached one-third of the new membership goal and expected to fully meet it by 2025.

The BAFTAs did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment on the photo from Sunday’s ceremony.