Britain’s top film awards were criticized for having all-white shortlists in its acting categories and an all-male one for the director, which led towards triggering the use of the hashtag on social media.
And at the awards night, it was best actor winner Joaquin Phoenix who call out the “systemic racism” of the industry that received a lot of attention.
Phoenix accused the industry of sending out “a clear message to people of colour that you are not welcome here”.
“I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, although that’s what we give ourselves every year. I think people just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work. This is not a self-righteous condemnation because I’m ashamed to say that I’m part of the problem,” Phoenix said on stage at the Royal Albert Hall.
“I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive, but I think it’s more than just having sets that are multicultural. We have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. I think it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it. So that’s on us,” he concluded.
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) February 2, 2020
Both the British Academy of Film and Television and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences have been heavily criticized for the lack of representation and diversity after the nominations were announced.