BAFTA CEO: older white women BAFTA nominees count as diversity

In Britain, they do two BAFTA awards ceremonies, one for film and one for television, and they call both awards shows “the BAFTAs.” At the film BAFTAs this year, there was a concerted effort made to nominate people of color, from Angela Bassett to Viola Davis to Michelle Yeoh. Unfortunately, every single BAFTA winner this year was white. Cate Blanchett beat Yeoh and Davis; Kerry Condon beat Bassett and Hong Chau; Barry Keoghan beat Ke Huy Quan and Micheal Ward. Part of me still believes that in the British film industry’s hive-mind, “Irish” counts as an ethnic minority. I’m sure that’s the case for BAFTA president Prince William. In any case, this year’s BAFTA television nominations have come out and they are overwhelmingly white, to little surprise. Something funny and terrible happened though: BAFTA’s CEO claimed that nominating old white women “counts” as diversity.

BAFTA has celebrated the number of older white women nominated for best actress at its Television Awards amid a steep decline in ethnic diversity in performance shortlists. All six nominees in the Leading Actress category are white and have been nominated for BAFTAs across film and TV multiple times in the past.

Asked if BAFTA had hoped for a different outcome, CEO Jane Millichip said: “There is representation in that category in the fact that if you look at the age of the actresses and the roles written for them, it is extraordinary. This is something that we’ve discussed for a long time in the television and film world: Are the roles written for women over the age of 40? That is a really impressive result.”

BAFTA later clarified that Millichip was referring to “representation” for older women as a separate issue from diversity, which it considers to relate to ethnicity and socio-economic background among other factors.

Imelda Staunton (aged 67) has been nominated for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. Other nominees include Kate Winslet (47) for I Am Ruth, Billie Piper (40) for I Hate Suzie Too, Maxine Peake (48) for Anne, Sarah Lancashire (58) for Julia, and Vicky McClure (39) for Without Sin.

Sara Putt, Deputy Chair of BAFTA and Chair of the Television Committee, said all the female nominees are “well deserving” of their place on the shortlist.

Some observed that Ambika Mod had been overlooked for her performance in BBC/AMC series This Is Going To Hurt, which is leading the chase for a bronze mask with a total of six nominations. Mod has been nominated for Supporting Actor at the Royal Television Society Awards, while the Broadcasting Press Guild nominated her for Best Actress. Deadline understands she was put forward for Supporting Actress rather than Leading Actress at the BAFTAs. There are three women of color nominated in the Supporting Actress category: Adelayo Adedayo (The Responder), Jasmine Jobson (Top Boy), and Saffron Hocking (Top Boy).

[From Deadline]

I mean, it’s a real thing when actors of color are snubbed for nominations in the lead category and relegated to supporting categories. That happens all the time across the board in the film and television industry, because most awards shows can’t handle films or TV shows with Black leads or Asian leads. So no, I’m not surprised that all of the lead actress nominees are white. I guess they deserve a slow clap for including women over the age of 40, although that’s been the case for decades now – women over 40 are pushed out of film work and given TV work.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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25 Responses to “BAFTA CEO: older white women BAFTA nominees count as diversity”

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  1. Laura-Lee MacDonald says:

    Wow, with such attitude alignment, I’m
    now even more surprised that W & K don’t hang with the BAFTA folks more.

  2. K8erade says:


    That’s all I got.

  3. MissMarirose says:

    It’s long been said that the biggest benefactors of affirmative action and diversity schemes in the US have been white women, even though it’s supposed to make things more diverse for racial and ethnic minorities. So this nonsense isn’t surprising at all. And it’s particularly stupid considering that women already have a separate category from men. I can’t roll my eyes enough.

    • ThatsNotOkay says:

      I’m rolling mine like a troll under a bridge with eyes as big as saucers. They’re just trying to be offensive now. Actively trying not to be inclusive. “We’ll, you’re a small part of the population so, statistically speaking, you shouldn’t be getting ANY award nominations!” Deliberately dense. Just wait until they eliminate the “Female” categories altogether. Only THEN will white women have something to say.

    • Jamie says:

      It’s true – affirmative action was originally created to help women, specifically white, get into colleges.

    • Thea says:

      It is the same in Canada. If you look at the executive/decision-making levels of all our major public, academic, media, entertainment, and financial institutions, it is very homogenously white, with more women now than before. Yet we proudly declare how inclusive and diverse we are by showing photos of all the BIPOC hired in the frontlines or maybe middle management.

    • Zazzoo says:

      It’s sooo obvious in my workplace, that’s 70% women, predominantly white. I’m not downplaying the insidiousness of misogyny and toxic masculinity in our culture. And too be sure poor white women and girls are just as impacted by fascist restrictions on reproductive health, but educated middle class women are on the upward move. We haven’t replaced our male counterparts at the upper levels of business and government, but we’re fast dominating the middle levels. Let’s own that and hold the door open for all historically marginalized groups.

  4. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    This is insane.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      It is. It’s utterly disgusting that they consider older white women nominees as “diversity”. It’s blatantly obvious that repressing POC or Asian actors is simply BAFTA’s status quo and it isn’t changing any time soon. How any member of the BAFTA committee consider their position as progressive baffles my mind…..🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

  5. Bonsai Mountain says:

    On brand. Can we stop pretending now that Britain is inclusive and celebrates diversity?

  6. Ceej says:

    Yep. In the fintech world diversity is celebrated because there are more white women in the industry and in top roles. That’s it. I’ve been to conferences where the founder (a ww) has opened by praising the amount of diversity she saw around the room… I was one of maybe a generous 5 out of 150 people who you’d clearly call a person of colour.

    And so many organisations seem to have stopped trying once they get near 50% gender parity because that’s it! Diversity achievement unlocked! What else is there?

  7. Truthiness says:

    Reprehensible. Boycott the whole lot, it has no validity.

  8. WhatKateHerselfSaidOnPageSix says:

    Yes because older white women have a hard time pulling strings *cough cough Camilla

  9. Rackel says:

    It’s still not diversity because they just nominated their favorites who are getting older. What about giving a new, over 50s white woman a shot. Its always Helen mirron,, Judy Dench, cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, young Billie piper, and now kerry condon.

    The british entertainment chiefs started talking about diversity because they wanted british “world ethnic” folks to displace others. That’s it. They don’t actually want diversity. I can’t wait until the usa stops all these BBC partnerships. They just churn out nonsense. You see that student film called “men” made in 2022.

  10. Louise177 says:

    Really off topic but I don’t remember Kate’s outfit looking so bad. It’s not so much about the dress and gloves but how they look together. It’s so jarring.

  11. MoBiMo says:

    OMG…. that last picture of Kate talking to the woman next to her and the look on that woman’s face…. priceless!

    • Over it says:

      I feel like Kate is telling that woman, see I wore ugliest best .Kate looks like she is sizing up that lady and going oh no a peasant. And the woman is sizing her back up going oh no not you people sitting me next to this behind showing lazy B .

  12. Becks1 says:

    Ageism in the entertainment industry is OF COURSE a thing, we all know that.

    It’s not the same as the racism and the lack of diversity and having good roles for women over 50 does not excuse that racism.

  13. Amy Bee says:

    The comments from the BAFTA CEO reminds me of the response to a NY Times or Time Magazine article about royal correspondents being primarily white and male and Roya Nikkhah objected and tweeted a picture of a bunch of white female royal correspondents. She was the only person of colour in the picture. So for the British media/film establishment diversity means the inclusion of more (white) women.

    • kirk says:

      I didn’t know Roya Nikkah was a “person of colour.” Interesting. As for Imelda Staunton getting a nod for The Crown – yikes, I thought she dragged the season down a lot, maybe even more than the plumping and fluffing of Dominic West as Chuck.

  14. TheOriginalMia says:

    I’m just done with these entertainment awards that give lip service to black actors like the Oscars or change the goal posts like the Baftas. Angela’s loss really broke me. Black people have to f*cking move mountains to even level the field and even then they’ll be overlooked and expected to stomach it with a graciousness not expected of others.

  15. AC says:

    I know the US still has a lot of work regarding diversity esp in the entertainment industry but it’s slowly trying to include more POC. If you looked at the 3 super popular young celebs right now with a Huge following they are Zendaya, Olivia Rodrigo and Jenna Ortega(not to mention all 3 from my home state of California as well.. lol..) . And the whole world literally is going mad for them, including their fans in the UK. Not only are they very talented but everyone calling them beautiful. These 3 girls representing my home state of CA is a reality as it’s a very diverse state . And I’m glad the world gets to see their talent and beauty – it’s not just having blonde hair and blue eyes which I’m pretty sure the rest of the world thinks is the stereotypical California girl.

  16. Veronica S. says:

    Irish and Welsh people are ethnic minorities in the UK, to be fair. There are some studies that suggest they encounter similar health and socioeconomic issues as BAME communities, and they are certainly victims of British colonization. In some ways, that actually makes the BAFTA stance grosser because they’re clearly advantaging their white racial appearance as a way to knock POC out of the running, while outside of it, those ethnic groups are actually having to engage with certain colonialist leftovers to less advantage.

    White women would be wise to watch how systems of power use race to divide us from other minority groups. It didn’t take long for a lot of white American women to find out their rights went on the chopping block real fast once once the Republican party had their vote. Divide and conquer has always been the name of the game.