Indira Varma, Himesh Patel join Alternative Bafta List campaign


British actress Indira Varma (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
British actress Indira Varma (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

This year’s “all-white” Bafta nominations did not go down well among artistes and aficionados across the spectrum. The list ended up prompting the trending hashtag #Baftasowhite.

The controversy got a fresh twist with many British stars nominating personal choices for an ‘Alternative Bafta List’ campaign that highlights some top-notch performers who were perceived to be overlooked.

Indira Varma of Game of Thrones fame said she would nominate Mati Diop (Atlantique) and Olivia Wilde (Booksmart) for Best Director even as she “very much” supported the nomination of Bong Joon-Ho’s nomination for Best Director and Best Picture (Parasite). The Time’s UP UK ambassador nominated Awkwafina for Best Actress in a Leading Role (The Farewell).

Yesterday actor Himesh Patel nominated Lee Jung Eun for Best Supporting Actress (Parasite) and Tzi MA for Best Supporting Actor (The Farewell).

Carey Mulligan, who garnered acclaim at Sundance for her role in Promising Young Woman, picked Lorene Scafaria for Best Director (Hustlers). She hit out that “something’s not working” if a film like Huslters and a performance like Jenifer Lopez’s failed to get recognition.

Gemma Arterton said she “loved” Booksmart and could not believe it failed to make the cut, “especially for the acting and first-time director”. Same goes for The Nightingale and Portrait of a Lady on Fire, she added.

While director of A United Kingdom Amma Asante said her pick for Best Actress in a Leading Role was Queen & Slim star Jodie Turner-Smith, Colour Out of Space actor Joely Richardson said Vanessa Redgrave should have got nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Mrs Lowry and Son).

Dame Heather Rabbatts, chair of Time’s UP UK campaign, said there were “glaring omissions” and that the “lack of diversity at the Golden Globes and now at the Baftas” has been panned across the media and talent. “We are looking at an awards season where women and people of colour have just not been recognised despite the fact that there is a wonderful array of choices,” he rued.

Earlier, industry bodies such as actors’ union Equity and British East Asians in Theatre and on Screen (BEATS), too, had slammed Bafta. The authorities concerned promised to carry out a “careful and detailed review” of voting procedures that would produce a more representative system for the 2021 awards.

This year’s awards is set to be held on February 2.