Steve McQueen joins criticism of Bafta over ‘all-white’ nominations

Steve McQueen joins criticism of Bafta over ‘all-white’ nominations

Film director Steve McQueen has criticised Bafta over this year’s “all-white” controversy.

The nominations for the film awards, unveiled earlier this month, feature no non-white actors in the four main acting categories, and an absence of female directors.

The 12 Years A Slave filmmaker told the Guardian that 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.”

Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry (Ian West/PA)
Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry (Ian West/PA)

McQueen, whose films have won Baftas and an Oscar, told the newspaper that the Baftas “have to change. Fact.”

He said there was a huge amount of British talent that could have been nominated this year, including Marianne Jean-Baptiste for In Fabric, Cynthia Erivo for Harriet, and Daniel Kaluuya for Queen & Slim.

After criticism for the nominations, Bafta announced it will conduct a “careful and detailed review” of its voting system.

The comments from McQueen, who also made Hunger and Shame, came ahead of the Oscar nominations to be announced this afternoon.

Those awards also had all-white lists of acting nominees in both 2015 and 2016, a move that provoked widespread anger in Hollywood.

McQueen said: “With the Baftas, if (filmmakers) are not recognised visually in our culture, well what’s the bloody point? It becomes irrelevant, redundant and of no interest or importance. End of.”

Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry has said she is “disappointed” by the lack of diversity in this year’s nominations.

The organisation’s film committee head Marc Samuelson told Variety that any changes agreed upon will be “in place in time for voting for the 2021 awards”.

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