“We find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process.”
- Prince William opened the 73rd British Academy Film and Television Arts Awards with a powerful speech on the need for diversity within the industry.
- The Duke of Cambridge said that the lack of diversity “simply cannot be right in this day and age.”
- Joaquin Phoenix, who accepted an award later in the night, also spoke candidly about the need to include and represent more voices and stories through media.
At yesterday’s 73rd British Academy Film and Television Arts Awards, Prince William brought diversity to the forefront of the ceremony during his opening speech.
“Catherine and I are once again really, really delighted to join you all this evening. Tonight we celebrate another year of exceptional filmmaking and I’m thrilled that all those involved have been recognized,” he began. “Both here in the U.K. and in many other countries across the world, we are lucky to have incredible filmmakers, actors, producers, directors, and technicians—men and women from all backgrounds and ethnicities enriching our lives through film.”
The Duke of Cambridge qualified that statement with, “Yet in 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process. That simply cannot be right in this day and age.”
He continued, “I know that both Pippa, chair of BAFTA, and Amanda, BAFTA CEO, share that frustration and continue to work tirelessly to ensure that creative talent is discovered and supported. BAFTA take this issue seriously, and following this year’s nominations have launched a full and thorough review of the entire Awards process to build on their existing work and ensure that opportunities are available to everyone.”
William wasn’t the only one concerned with the lack of diversity that night. Joaquin Phoenix, who won best actor for his role in Joker, also voiced the need to include more voices and stories.
“I think that we send a very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here,” he said during his acceptance speech. “I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people who have contributed so much to our medium and our industry, and in ways that we benefit from.”