Both British Academy of Film and Television and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences faced controversy for lack of representation and diversity after announcing their nominations.
Phoenix, who received the Best Actor award for his performance in Joker, addressed the ongoing systemic racism in the industry. In his acceptance speech he said: “I don't think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, although that's what we give ourselves every year. I think people just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work. This is not a self-righteous condemnation because I'm ashamed to say that I'm part of the problem.” He continued, “I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive, but I think it's more than just having sets that are multicultural. We have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. I think it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it. So that's on us.”
Prince William, who presented the BAFTA Fellowship to Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy, also spoke about the issue: "We find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to address diversity in the sector. That cannot be right in this day and age.” Other than the glaring lack of representation of people of color, there was also no representation of women. Not a single woman director felt acknowledged for their contribution. Rebel Wilson addressed this saying, “I don't think I could do what they do, honestly. I just don't have the balls.” The room erupted in laughter at her dig