We take a closer look at the issue of Diversity and how several winners reacted to their win – speaking to the press just after receiving their award at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday, (March 13)
(Above video) EE Baftas 2022 – Winners talk Diversity: Joanna Scanlan on Aleem Khan’s ‘After Love’; Lashana Lynch (‘No Time to Die’) on her EE Rising Star award and Gamal G Turawa’s suicide memory (‘The Black Cop’)…
WHEN Krishnendu Majumdar was appointed as chair of Bafta in the summer of 2020, he set about changing the film awards to make them more representative of the industry at large.
For some time, the Baftas had come in for criticism for not representing the wide body of film work that was being done across the UK – with many talents going unnoticed or simply being overlooked.
A major overhaul of processes was instigated following a report into where the organisation was failing to reflect diversity on the big screen – from our own pages – TV was already on this path but film appeared to lag behind.
On Sunday (March 13), Majumdar addressed those concerns head on in his first personal welcome to a live awards audience – and while it may not have featured in the BBC broadcast shown on telly in the scheduled programming – it is clear that he remains committed.
He delighted in the fact that many were first time nominees and we suspect he would have been thrilled to see Scanlan win in the Leading Actress Category – not simply because she beat the very stiff and high profile competition – Lady Gaga (‘House of Gucci’) who attended the ceremony, Alana Haim (‘Liquorice Pizza’), also very much in the room, as was Emilia Jones (‘Coda’), and Reinate Reinsve (‘The Worst Person in the World’) who also was in the audience too – and Tessa Thompson (‘Passing’) – but because Scanlan got recognised in a debut British filmmaker’s work.
Aleem Khan’s first feature, ‘After Love’ – in which Scanlan stars – failed to win in any of the other categories it appeared in – the film was in the Outstanding British Film section and Khan himsefl in Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer, and the much coveted Director category but he ended up personally with nothing.
However, Scanlan’s portrayal of Mary in ‘After Love’ clearly won hearts and minds and her popular win will surely mean more people will see this exceptional debut by Khan and continue to be interested in his future work – very much as we are.
Scanlan’s comments in the winners press conference (please see the video above) gives some indication that things are changing and that a ‘small’ British film about identity, faith and culture can punch through barriers and make it to the top table to join films that have much bigger budgets and often more established big screen stars. Those who know Scanlan’s work will recognise her from ‘The Thick of it’ (2005-2012), ‘Getting On’ (2009-2012) and ‘No Offence’ (2015-2018) on the telly.
In his opening address, Majumdar, said: “We’ve already made sweeping changes across our whole organisation – to our voting, membership and campaigning processes. We did this to level the playing field for entries, so that more films and the real range of exceptional talent could be considered on an equal footing.
“The fruits of these efforts are evident in this year’s outstanding nominations, and I’m thrilled that tonight we are shining a light on so many first-time nominees.
“For too long our industry has been closed off to some people. My father arrived here on a boat from India in the 1960s to work for the National Health Service. Growing up in valleys of South Wales, we didn’t know anyone who worked in film or tv and there wasn’t anyone who looked like me on screen.
“We’re changing that.”
And that got one of the biggest applause of the evening.
Majumdar grew up in South Wales, the son of Bengali parents and a Dad who worked as a GP and the TV exec-to-be entered the industry after completing both the BBC and ITV’s Production Trainee schemes and was the showrunner for the very successful Sky series, ‘An Idiot Abroad‘ fronted by Karl Pilkington.
Finally, it wasn’t just among the winners that there was diversity – Asim Chaudhry – a regular and ex-Bafta TV winner for ‘People Just Do Nothing’ (see here) had a scene himself with main host Rebel Wilson and handed out the prize for Original Score; Himesh Patel presented one of the biggest prizes of all – the Supporting Actress category (see below for all winners) ; while Conrad Khan was joined by Shalom Brune Franklin in handing out the Make-up & Hair and Casting.
Below are just some of the other stars who were among the guests on the evening…
Pictures from social media accounts – hover cursor over picture to read caption, click to see more closely…
Now all attention will turn to the Oscars on Sunday, March 27