BAFTA Heralds Greater Diversity in 2020 Television Awards Nominations

Ncuti Gatwa Sex Education

BAFTA has heralded an improvement in the diversity of nominees for this year’s Television and Craft Awards.

This year’s shortlist, announced Thursday morning, has seen a 22% rise in nominees of color, said BAFTA.

New talent, in particular, has broken through, with nominations for “Sex Education‘s” Ncuti Gatwa (pictured), “Man Like Mobeen’s” Guz Khan and “Home’s” Youssef Kerkour in the male performance in a comedy category, and “Top Boy’s” Jasmine Jobson and “The End of the F***ing World’s” Naomi Ackie for best supporting actress.

Elsewhere, Gbemisola Ikumelo has two nominations — one for her performance in comedy “Famalam,” and another in the short-form category for “Brain in Gear.” Mo Gilligan is nominated for best entertainment performance for Channel 4’s “The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan” and “Top Boy” and “Pure” director Aneil Karia is nominated as a breakthrough talent in the Craft Awards.

BAFTA is currently carrying out a major review to help improve representation in its film awards, after widespread criticism for their lack of diversity earlier this year. The film review is also taking into account the television, craft and games awards.

Emma Baehr, BAFTA’s director of awards and membership told Variety Thursday she was pleased with the “increased level” of diversity. “Things are changing, but I do think there is a lot more to [do],” says Baehr. “We need to see more things at entry through to nominations.”

And certainly, more work needs to be done. This year, for example, the only BAME star nominated in the prestigious leading actor or actress categories is  “Giri/Haji’s” Takehiro Hira.

Meanwhile, the director categories for factual and fiction are all male affairs. One bright light is the DoP category which, usually also dominated by men, has notably nominated “His Dark Materials’” cinematographer Suzie Lavelle.

Baehr notes that since BAFTA launched its review in February, there has been a high level of engagement with its membership and the industry. “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.”

The exec adds that the dialogue provides “the opportunity to evoke change” by working with the industry and BAFTA members, but also “to work with people that we haven’t had those conversations with before. We want to be open to everyone. We want everyone’s input.”

Publication of the nominees comes at a time of increased focus on diversity following the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25. Following large-scale demonstrations in the U.S. over the last week, London held its first major event yesterday in response to Floyd’s death.