Bosses at the British Academy Film and Television Awards (BAFTAs) denied snubbing Moonlight director Barry Jenkins in this year's nominations.
Jenkins’ critically acclaimed film landed the second-time movie director a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama, and he was also nominated in the Best Director category.
However the 2017 BAFTAs Best Director category is made up of all white men, with Golden Globes nominees Denzel Washington, who helmed and stars in Fences, and Jenkins both failing to land a nod.
In response, after a number of industry experts commented on the omissions, and the #BaftasSoWhite backlash spread on social media, chief executive of the BAFTAs Amanda Berry told news outlet Deadline "she did not feel" that Jenkins had been snubbed and insisted that the focus should be on the "strong films".
“Everyone looks for the snubs and I want to remind people about the strong films. Let’s not overshadow their achievements because they are exceptional,” Berry told Deadline. “Barry Jenkins is nominated in Best Film and although not for Director, he is nominated for Original Screenplay. I do not feel Barry has been snubbed by BAFTA.”
Jenkins wasn't the only upset, as the Best Actress and Best Actor categories is also made up entirely of white talent.
The supporting acting categories are more diverse, with Dev Patel, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Viola Davis are all nominated.
The Oscars faced a similar backlash last year when every nomination in the top categories went to a white star, prompting many of Hollywood's leading black actors to boycott the ceremony.
The BAFTAs snub was especially notable, because last year (16) the organisation set out bold new standards aimed at increasing diversity which will take effect from 2019.
“The fact that there isn’t diversity among the top acting categories shows there is still work to be done. But I don’t want it to overshadow the fantastic nominations that are there,” added Berry.
The 2017 BAFTAs will take place on 12 February at London's Royal Albert Hall.
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