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Bafta film awards 2020: Joker leads nominations amid diversity row

By Mutala Yakubu
Joaquin Phoenix is up for best actor for starring in the origin story of Batman's nemesis
Joaquin Phoenix is up for best actor for starring in the origin story of Batman's nemesis

Joker leads the Bafta film nominations with 11, but there is criticism that the acting nominees are all white.

Joker is followed by Martin Scorsese's The Irishman and Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood, which have 10 nominations each.

Scarlett Johansson and Margot Robbie are up for two acting awards each.

READ ALSO: Box Office: ‘Joker’ makes $1 billion

But no female directors were nominated for the seventh year in a row. Bafta boss Amanda Berry said she was "very disappointed" by the lack of diversity.

The leading Bafta nominees

Joaquin Phoenix will be the favourite for best actor for his role in Joker, which tells the origin story of Batman's nemesis and has divided some critics and audiences.

It's 11 years since Heath Ledger won a posthumous Bafta for playing the same character in The Dark Knight.

Joker director Todd Phillips said: "Recently, when Joaquin and I were in the UK, the love we felt for Joker was palpable and I just want to thank my British colleagues for connecting with the film on a cellular level."

Phoenix will face competition from Taron Egerton, who played Sir Elton John in Rocketman, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon A Time..., Adam Driver for Marriage Story and Jonathan Pryce for The Two Popes.

Margot Robbie is up against herself in the best supporting actress category for roles in Bombshell and Once Upon A Time...

That category also includes Scarlett Johansson for Jojo Rabbit, while she is also up for best actress for her role opposite Driver in Netflix's divorce drama Marriage Story.

The other best actress nominees are Renee Zellweger for playing Judy Garland in Judy, Jessie Buckley for Wild Rose, Charlize Theron for Bombshell, and Saoirse Ronan for Little Women.

But there is no room for Little Women film-maker Greta Gerwig - or any other women - in the best director category.

Acting categories 'very white'

Told on BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the acting list "seems very white", Bafta CEO Berry replied: "I'm going to totally agree with you. That's how I felt when I first saw the list.

"This isn't being disrespectful to anybody who has been nominated because it's an incredibly strong list this year.

"If you look at the director category, where I hoped we would see at least one female director, that is an incredibly strong list when you have people like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino and Sam Mendes, who have got multiple nominations in the past."

Gerwig did pick up a nomination for best adapted screenplay, however.

The actors who were overlooked included British star Cynthia Erivo, who was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Harriet, a biopic about Harriet Tubman's escape from slavery.

The lists drew strong criticism on social media, with #BaftasSoWhite trending. Director Rapman, whose controversial film Blue Story was overlooked except in the rising star category, wrote: "The lack of of black faces is ridiculous."