BAFTAs 2020: Rebel Wilson takes a shot at all-male director shortlist and 'Cats'

Rebel Wilson poses on the red carpet upon arrival at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards. (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Rebel Wilson poses on the red carpet upon arrival at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards. (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Rebel Wilson joked about the all-male shortlist for Best Director at this year’s BAFTAs, saying: “I don’t think I could do what they do, honestly. I just don’t have the balls.”

The British Academy has been roundly criticised since its nominations were announced due to the lack of diversity.

No women were nominated for Best Director and the acting categories were entirely populated by white performers.

Read more: Full list of winners from BAFTAs 2020

High-profile filmmakers including Greta Gerwig for Little Women and Melina Matsoukas for Queen & Slim were snubbed from the shortlist.

Wilson presented the directing award to Sam Mendes for 1917 and delivered a speech with references to Prince Andrew and the critical and commercial failure of Cats, in which she played Jennyanydots.

The 39-year-old referred to the venue as the Royal Andrew Hall and came up with an unusual origin story for her dress, in keeping with the show’s theme of environmental sustainability.

She said that her red and black outfit was the result of two dresses she had previously worn, adding: “The red is from that one time I didn’t win Miss Australia. And the black is from a funeral I just went to for the feature film Cats.”

Wilson, who appeared in the star-studded musical film alongside Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench and Idris Elba, quipped that it was "strangely not nominated for any awards".

Rebel Wilson in Cats (Credit: Universal)
Rebel Wilson in Cats (Credit: Universal)

"I'm not sure if anyone has been across the controversy, but this year there has been a distinct lack of nominations for felines," she added, referring to the film's poor performance at the box office and among critics.

"Even in this best director CAT-egory, no felines have been nominated.

"It's really shocking, but at least I get to hold this Bafta for a moment."

Read more: Cats could lose £76m at the box office

Wilson’s performance on the BAFTAs stage was warmly received among those in the room, with many claiming it to be the highlight of the entire ceremony.

1917 was the big winner at the BAFTAs, scoring seven awards from its nine nominations — including for Best Film, as well as the aforementioned Best Director prize for Mendes.

Other major winners on the night were Joker with three awards and Parasite, which won two.

Read more: All of the British Oscar nominees this year

The team behind 1917 will be hoping to repeat their success at the Oscars on 9 February, where the movie has 10 nominations.