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A Startling Lack Of Diversity

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Many in the industry and film fans are speaking out against the lack of diversity in the 2020 awards season, both at the Oscars and the BAFTAs.

The BAFTAs didn't nominate a single person of color in their acting categories this year, and despite that, they asked Cynthia Erivo (who was the only non-white person to get an acting Oscar nomination this year for Harriet) to perform during the ceremony. She turned them down, and gave a powerful statement as to why she said no.

She Refuses To Perform At The BAFTAs

Gettyimages | Dia Dipasupil

She explained to Extra:

"I felt like [the invitation] didn't represent people of color in the right light. It felt like it was calling on me as an entertainer as opposed to a person who was a part of the world of film, and I think that it's important to make it known that it's not something you throw in as a party trick, you know?"

The fact that they wanted her to perform but not honor her for her performance in Harriet is rather telling.

Potentially The Youngest Person To EGOT

Gettyimages | Nicholas Hunt

She continued, explaining her disappointment with the lack of diversity in the nominations.

"I work hard and every single person of color who is working in these films this year has worked really hard, and there are many of them who deserve to be celebrated... and no women directors, I was just like...'C'mon.'"

Not that Erivo needs the BAFTAs. If she wins an Oscar for Harriet, she will be the youngest person to ever EGOT, winning an Emmy, Grammy, and Tony for her performance in The Color Purple. Even if the BAFTAs are going to ignore her talent, she's going to thrive anyway.

A Disappointing Response

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Emma Baehr, BAFTA’s director of awards, had a response to the backlash, telling The Hollywood Reporter:

"We’d have liked to have seen more diversity in the nominations, it does continue to be an industry-wide issue. I think more films need to be made, and entered, giving people a chance to see them. We’d absolutely like to see more diversity, but I also don’t want to take away from those celebrating today."

However, considering all of the films that came out in 2019 that were made by women and people of color that the BAFTAs chose not to nominate, this feels like a rather disingenuous statement.

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