Bafta chairwoman Dame Pippa Harris has said that more needs to be done across the industry as a whole in order to improve diversity, and that female directors are the “future”.
Speaking ahead of this year’s British Academy Film Awards – which sees Joker lead the way with 11 nominations – Dame Pippa addressed the lack of recognition for female directors, as well as the issues around diversity as a whole.
She told the PA news agency: “Although there are no women directors in the main fiction category, there are actually 13 female directors nominated, so for documentary, foreign language film, feature animations, short films, debut directors, and those women, their work should be celebrated, their work is just as important.
“They represent the future of the industry, so actually I think it’s quite a positive story but it’s sort of got lost in the fact that there’s no-one in the main fiction category.”
Awards are right at the end of a whole process and so we need to look at the types of films being made, the opportunities that people are getting, how the films are being promoted. All of these things play a part
There has been dismay that no female directors were recognised for the seventh year in a row, since Kathryn Bigelow was nominated for The Hurt Locker in 2013.
Bafta bosses have also said it is “disappointing” and “infuriating” that its membership have selected all-white performers to recognise at the ceremony.
Dame Pippa said: “We’ve announced a wide-ranging review, we’re going to be looking at everything across the board in terms of the awards process.
“But also I think it’s fair to say this is an industry-wide issue. It takes everyone to look at what they’re doing.
“Awards are right at the end of a whole process and so we need to look at the types of films being made, the opportunities that people are getting, how the films are being promoted. All of these things play a part.”
She said she is confident that it can change in the future, adding: “When you look at previous years, I mean even last year we had Mahershala Ali and Spike Lee.
“It’s not as though there are never people of colour winning awards or being nominated, but this year has been very disappointing.”
Rising Star nominee Kaitlyn Dever said that she is “so grateful” to have been a part of the nominated film Booksmart – up for original screenplay – which was directed by Olivia Wilde and was written by an all-female team.
She told the PA news agency: “Half of the films I’ve made have been directed by women, so my goal for 2020 is to look for those projects and you have to take the reins a bit and really seek that out.”
Addressing the lack of nominated female directors, the US actress added: “In terms of female directors, they’re all over the place, and I really want to work with more women.
“It’s all I’m trying to do right now.”
Dame Pippa and Dever were joined on the star-studded red carpet by the likes of nominees including Margot Robbie, Florence Pugh, Renee Zellweger, Taron Egerton, Charlize Theron and Jessie Buckley.
Joker leads the nominations at this year’s event with 11 nods, including best film, best actor for Joaquin Phoenix, best adapted screenplay and best director.
It is closely followed by Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic The Irishman and Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, which both scored 10 nominations and will also compete in the best film category, alongside Sir Sam Mendes’ war film 1917 and Korean film Parasite.