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Joker leads the 2020 BAFTA Film Awards nominations amid diversity backlash

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Image for article titled Joker leads the 2020 BAFTA Film Awards nominations amid diversity backlash
Photo: The Toronto International Film Festival

Todd Phillips’ Joker continues to reign as one of the most polarizing films of 2019. Even we at The A.V. Club couldn’t quite come to a consensus: While we gave the film a perfectly respectable grade of B-, we also dubbed it one of the worst films of the year. And while there are many who have taken a firm stance against the dauntingly violent origin story, that hasn’t dampened the awards season buzz much at all. Hot off the Golden Globes (where Joaquin Phoenix tipsily nabbed a trophy for Best Actor In A Drama Motion Picture and Hildur Guðnadóttir won for the film’s score), Joker leads the recently announced BAFTA nominations with a total of 11. Following closely behind are Martin Scorsese’s mob flick The Irishman and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood with 10 each, rounding out what appears to have been a banner year for gritty drama.

Phoenix joins Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver, Taron Egerton, and Jonathan Pryce in the Best Actor shortlist. The Best Actress category shaped up in a similarly predictable fashion with Jessie Buckley, Scarlett Johansson, Cherlize Theron, Saoirse Ronan, and Renee Zellweger left to battle it out. If Johansson’s performance in Marriage Story isn’t enough to win over the voters, she has another shot at a trophy in the Supporting Actress category for JoJo Rabbit.


The list of nominations has garnered some controversy, especially in the acting and director shortlists: While the actor and actress categories were entirely white, no female directors were nominated this year. Considering that 2019 was the year of Hustlers, Little Women, The Farewell, and Dolemite Is My Name, to name a few, the oversights seem particularly egregious. Marc Samuelson, the chairman of BAFTA’s film committee, notes that the lack of inclusion is particularly troubling: “Clearly everybody knows that everybody in the four acting groups of nominees are white, it’s infuriating, we can’t make the industry do something, all we can do is encourage and push and inspire and try to help people coming in at the bottom end.” We won’t go as far as to say that the below nominees are undeserving in any way, but it would be great to see the BAFTAs buck the status quo even a little bit.

For a full list of nominees, check out the official BAFTA site.


“The Irishman”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”


Sam Mendes, “1917”
Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
Todd Phillips, “Joker”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite”



Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
Taron Egerton, “Rocketman”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”


Jessie Buckley, “Wild Rose”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
Renee Zellweger, “Judy”



Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”
Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”



Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
Florence Pugh, “Little Women”
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”
Margott Robbie, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”



Susanna Fogle, Emily Halpen, Sarah Haskins, & Katie Silverman, “Booksmart”
Rian Johnson, “Knives Out”
Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Bong Joon Ho & Han Jin Won, “Parasite”



Steven Zaillian, “The Irishman”
Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit”
Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, “Joker”
Greta Gerwig, “Little Women”
Anthony McCarten, “The Two Popes”


[Via CNN]