Press Release: Racial disparities revealed in BAFTA Awards

New analysis of the nominations, using the BAFTA’s own database, reveals a lack of diversity and potential racial bias in key award categories

Ahead of this Sunday’s awards ceremony, new analysis* of the BAFTA awards database by business psychology firm, Pearn Kandola, has revealed that in eleven of its key award categories, 94 per cent of all BAFTA film award nominees have been white. Only five BAME (Black and minority ethnic) males have ever been nominated for the coveted ‘Best Leading Actor’ award, and just six BAME females for ‘Best Leading Actress’.

Further analysis shows that of all the nominations for the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ and ‘Best Supporting Actress’ awards, approximately 92 per cent of the nominees have been white. Black actors have been nominated on eight occasions and South Asian actors only three times. Latino/Hispanic actors have been nominated on five occasions and no East Asian actors have ever been nominated. Black actresses, meanwhile, have been nominated on eleven occasions for ‘Best Supporting Actress’. Latina/Hispanic and East Asian women have been respectively nominated once, while South Asian women have been nominated twice.

BAME women are by far the most under-represented demographic. Of the nine categories analysed for which women are eligible to be nominated, BAME women have won only the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ award. Furthermore, BAME women account for a shockingly low 0.4 per cent of all nominations for the behind-the-scenes awards that were analysed, including ‘Best Director’ or ‘Best Original Screenplay’.

Professor Binna Kandola OBE, Senior Partner and Co-Founder of Pearn Kandola, commented: “This analysis clearly illustrates the lack of diversity in the BAFTA awards. It’s true that times are changing, and we must recognise the fact that many of the successful BAME candidates were nominated for their respective awards in the more recent part of the BAFTAs’ extensive history. Despite this, the fact that even in this year’s awards, nominees from BAME backgrounds are overwhelmingly outnumbered by their white counterparts, suggests that there is still a great deal of progress to be made.”

In addition, the research shows a clear divide in the categories for which BAME individuals are most commonly nominated. Black men and women are most likely to be nominated for acting awards, while East Asian and Latino/Hispanic individuals are more likely to be nominated for the non-acting awards. Despite this, BAME individuals account for a total of only five per cent of nominees that have gone on to win a behind-the-scenes award.

The category with the greatest level of diversity is the ‘Rising Star’ award. However, despite being the most diverse category, just in one-in-ten (13 per cent) nominations for the award have been black and only three per cent have been South Asian. East Asian and Latino/Hispanic candidates have respectively been nominated once but have never won.

Professor Kandola’s new book, ‘Racism at Work: The Danger of Indifference’, which addresses the evolution of racial bias in modern society, will be published on 6th March 2018.

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