The most controversial BAFTA moments

Sam Ashurst
Jennifer Lawrence, Stephen Fry and BAFTA protestors have all had reasons to be upset.

It’s the BAFTAs on Sunday, and we couldn’t be more excited. Partly because we love award shows, partly because we can’t wait to gawp at what everyone’s wearing, and partly because these things invariably involve at least one completely bonkers moment, and we can’t wait to find out what it is this year.

We’d attempt to guess what it’s going to be – Bryan Singer shows up to protest the fact he’s had his name removed from the Bohemian Rhapsody trophy? – but if it’s anything like the following examples, it’s going to be impossible to predict.

Jennifer Lawrence vs Joanna Lumley

Actress Jennifer Lawrence poses for photographers upon arrival at the BAFTA Awards 2018 in London, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

For example, who knew that Jennifer Lawrence was going to start a FEUD with Joanna Lumley, OBE at last year’s BAFTAs? The ceremony was barely moments old before Lumley stepped up to introduce Lawrence.

“Right let’s start giving out some of those beautiful BAFTAs shall we?” Lumley said.

“And we start with the award for Outstanding British Film and who better to kick the whole evening off than the hottest actress on the planet.”

“Soon to be seen in Red Sparrow, it’s the ravishing Jennifer Lawrence.”

Looking uncomfortable, Lawrence replied with a deadpan: “Hi, that was a bit much but thank you Joanna.”

Viewers were NOT happy.

Lawrence was forced to explain, telling Magic Radio: “Everybody thought that I was being rude. But to be fair, I couldn’t have just walked out after she was like, ‘biggest movie star in the world!’ and gone, ‘thank you, Joanna’.

“It would have been like, ‘so you agree? You think you’re really pretty’.'”

Which is fair enough.

BAFTA vs female directors

Lynne Ramsay missed out on a film award nomination for You Were Never Really Here.

2018 was an incredible year for women directors. Whether it was Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace, or many more examples, women directors deserved to be rewarded for their incredible work at every single ceremony in 2019. Which probably explains why people were so upset to see yet another all-make line-up at the BAFTAs this year.

It wouldn’t be so bad, if the BAFTAs hadn’t been through the EXACT SAME THING last year, when they snubbed Greta Gerwig for Ladybird and everyone noticed that they haven’t nominated a woman for Best Director since 2013.

BAFTA chairman Jane Lush said at the time: “Of course we want to see women in the best director category,” Lush said. “It is a reflection of the industry to a certain extent and we should be doing something about it, and that’s why we have Bafta Elevate [a initiative to promote the careers of female directors].”

Which really doesn’t explain why things haven’t changed this year, but okay.


Protesters who are part of a group called Creatives of Colour Network stage a “peaceful” demonstration at the junction of Russell Street and Bow Street in London, ahead of the EE British Academy Film Awards, at the Royal Opera House, London, against what it describes as a lack of diversity in front of the camera.

In 2016, protestors took to the Bafta red carpet to highlight an uncomfortable truth about the awards – there were barely any black nominees. Beasts Of No Nation star Idris Elba, who was nominated for best supporting actor, and Star Wars actor John Boyega, who ultimately won Rising Star, were the only black actors on the 2016 shortlist.

‘Creatives of Colour Network’ demonstrated at London’s Royal Opera House, with placards and banners. Did it make a difference? Let’s have a look at 2017 and see, we’re sure it’s fine.


Barry Jenkins speaks at the Foreign Language Film Oscar nominees reception sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California, on March 2, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

Oh. In 2017, NO BAME actors were nominated for leading-role categories, or for best director. When you consider this was the year that Barry Jenkins was winning awards for Moonlight (packed with stunning performances), and Denzel Washington scorched the screen in Fences (both were nominated for Oscars that year) that’s actually really strange.

The situation was so weird that a hashtag was created, which turned the story into global news.

This year’s an improvement – Spike Lee’s up for Best Director for BlacKkKlanman, and Viola Davis is nominated for Best Actress for Widows, and Barry Jenkins gets a Best Adapted Screenplay nod for If Beale Street Could Talk, but there’s still more work to be done – as the Black Panther snub proves.

Stephen Fry vs Jenny Beavan

British comedian and actor Stephen Fry poses for photographs with a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) statuette during a photocall to mark the announcement of the BAFTA award nominations in London, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. Fry will be the host of the ceremony on Feb. 8 at the Royal Opera House in London and announced the nominations Friday with British actor Sam Claflin. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Stephen Fry is a national treasure. His Twitter feed was one of the most popular since the very earliest days of the service, thanks to Fry’s combination of open honesty, twinkly-eyed wisdom and genuinely funny bon mots.

So it was a fairly major shock when he quit tweeting, after a massive backlash against his 2016 Bafta hosting skills.

People were specifically upset about his perceived insult towards costume designer Jenny Beavan, when he called her a ‘bag lady’ when he was presenting her with an award for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road.

“Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to an awards ceremony dressed as a bag lady,” Fry quipped.

As with Jennifer Lawrence, it was an in-joke that went too far in the opinion of the online audience, with twitter exploding in annoyance at Fry.

Beavan later clarified: “Yes we are friends, and I am absolutely not upset. But I don’t want to talk any further because if I talk about it it will just create more fuss”.

Fry quit Twitter and hasn’t hosted the ceremony since.

For all the latest BAFTA news, scoops, and reactions – keep Yahoo Movies UK bookmarked. 

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