Women Absent From Key BAFTA Film Awards Nominations

“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro’s lavish fantasy, leads the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) film award nominations, in the running for 12 categories. The crime drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and “Darkest Hour,” set in the early days of World War II, received nine nominations each.

What all three films have in common is that they were directed by men.

On the heels of Saturday night’s emotional Golden Globe Awards ceremony, where gender inequality and abuse in the industry were passionately addressed, women film-makers were conspicuously absent from key BAFTA nominations announced Tuesday in London.

All five best director nominees were men, and all the nominations for best film and best British film were directed by men.

The lead characters in “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” however, are women. And two women were also nominated for best screenplay: Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird” and Vanessa Taylor, alongside Del Torro, for “The Shape of Water.”

BAFTA chair Jane Lush gave a nod to the Golden Globes, where women actors had draped themselves in black to protest the culture of sexual misconduct and abuse of power in Hollywood, exposed after the Harvey Weinstein revelations.

She said that people like Oprah Winfrey, who won the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award, used the moment as a “clarion call for change, something we at BAFTA wish to wholeheartedly endorse.”

“We too are determined to ensure that the brave revelations — and make no mistake, they were very brave — become a watershed moment to become a catalyst for real lasting change across the work place in film, games and television.”

She announced that BAFTA, with other industry bodies, was setting out principles and guidelines with the goal to “rest the tone” of the industry.

“It’s not only MeToo, but it’s WeToo,” she said.

Who’s nominated?

Actors Natalie Dormer and Letitia Wright announced nine of the 25 categories, including best film, best director, leading actor and leading actress. The awards are often seen as a pointer to the Oscars and the nominations were announced after the Golden Globe awards.

“The Shape of Water” is a fantastical feature about a 1960s research facility in which a janitor forms a relationship with an amphibious creature being held captive. Guillermo del Toro was nominated for both best director and original screenplay.

Among the film’s other nominations are Sally Hawkins for leading actress and Octavia Spencer for supporting actress. It also picked up a slew of production nominations, including costume design, special visual effects and production design, as well as cinematography.

“Darkest Hour” is set in the early days of World War II, when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had to make a decision on whether to negotiate with Hitler. The film received nominations for best film and outstanding British film. Gary Oldman was nominated as leading actor and Kristin Scott Thomas as supporting actress, for for their roles as Winston and Clementine Churchill.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a film about a mother, frustrated with a police investigation into her daughter’s death, who goes to great length to push authorities to catch the killer. It is nominated for best film and outstanding British film, wile Frances McDormand is nominated for leading actress, and Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson are both nominated for supporting actor.

BAFTA also announced “Absolutely Fabulous” star Joanna Lumley as the next host of the film awards ceremony. Actor Stephen Fry stepped down last year after 12 years hosting the show.

The 71st British Academy Film Awards will take place on Sunday, February 18 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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