The BAFTA TV awards took a small step in the right direction this year, possibly avoiding their very own #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Across the pond, the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) announced their nominees this week, which included a significant rise in nominees of color, according to Variety.
The British association boasted of a 22% increase in nominees of color, while Deadline was more generous, reporting a 167% increase in BAME nominees from three in 2019 to eight in 2020. Several new male actors of color were nominated for best performance in a comedy program, such as Ncuti Gatwa (Sex Education), Guz Khan (Man Like Mobeen), and Youssef Kerkour (Home). Actresses of color, Jasmine Jobson (Top Boy) and Naomi Ackie (The End of the F***ing World), also received nods in the supporting actress category. Other nominations include Gbemisola Ikumel (Famalam), Mo Gillian for his performance in The Lateish Show with Mo Gillian, and Aneil Karia, who is nominated for a Craft Award.
BAFTA’s director of awards and membership, Emma Baeher, has stated her content with the “increased level” of diversity. Telling Variety, “Things are changing, but I do think there is a lot more to [do]. We need to see more things at entry through to nominations. We’ve had many, many meetings — we’ve had amazing discussions and debates and ideas thrown at us. It is really such a great debate that is going on at the moment.”
Indeed there is still progress to be made, some categories have seen little to no increase in diversity. For instance, the director categories, both fiction and non-fiction, contain only male nominees, reflecting a systematic issue within the entertainment industry. Many were surprised to see Gavin and Stacey and Line of Duty snubbed for awards, due to their popularity with British audiences and critics. Both have female directors, Christine Gernon and Susan Tully, who could have easily been nominated.
As a whole, however, HBO seemed to be the big winner of the day. It’s mini-series Chernobyl racked up the most nominations this year with a record 14 awards (standing in a tie with the previous record setter Killing Eve). Netflix’s The Crown sits in second place with 7 nominations, including best drama series. Fleabag and Giri/Haji both received six nominations, followed by His Dark Material and The Virtues with five.