Joaquin Phoenix arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. The film “Joker” has topped the nominations for the British Academy film awards announced on Tuesday Jan. 7, 2020. Picture: AP

The BAFTA film awards came under fire for lack of diversity after all 20 stars nominated for the top acting gongs were white.

Critics also attacked the all-male shortlist for best director.

The all-white nominations in the leading actor, leading actress, supporting actor and supporting actress categories come four years after Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry said she wanted the awards to be as ‘diverse as they possibly can be’.

Fans reacted angrily to the absence of Hispanic actress Jennifer Lopez ("Hustlers") and black stars Cynthia Erivo ("Harriet") and Lupita Nyong’o ("Us"). British director Andrew "Rapman" Onwubolu, who made the controversial gang film Blue Story, said the "lack of black faces is ridiculous".

It is four years since the US Academy Awards were attacked for their lack of diversity via the social media tag ‘#OscarsSoWhite’. Yesterday Twitter users created the tag ‘#BAFTAsSoWhite’. Miss Berry said it was ‘disappointing’ that this year’s awards feature all-white acting nominees and that no female directors have been recognised. Responding to criticism that the shortlist is ‘very white’, she told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’m going to totally agree with you. That’s how I felt when I first saw the list.’

In 2016 she said: ‘Not enough films are being made with diverse talent in front of the camera. Our industry isn’t diverse enough so the pool of people to draw award winners from isn’t diverse enough. I want the awards to be as diverse as they possibly can be. But people can only vote on what they’ve seen.’

Marc Samuelson, chairman of BAFTAs film committee, described the lack of diversity as ‘infuriating’, but highlighted the fact that the number of female nominees is rising.

He said: ‘If you take all the nominations, it’s up to about 36 per cent female and it’s been rising every year.’

The "Joker"’s Joaquin Phoenix, "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood"’s Leonardo DiCaprio, "Marriage Story"’s Adam Driver, Rocketman’s Taron Egerton and Jonathan Pryce of "The Two Popes"are all in contention for leading actor.

Jessie Buckley ("Wild Rose"), Scarlett Johansson ("Marriage Story"), Saoirse Ronan ("Little Women"), Charlize Theron ("Bombshell") and Renee Zellweger ("Judy") are in the running for leading actress. 

British comedian London Hughes tweeted: ‘Just trying to figure out how Cynthia Erivo, a whole black British woman, played slave and American hero Harriet Tubman and even sang the soundtrack, but wasn’t deemed worthy for a Bafta nomination...but Scarjo [Scarlett Johansson] going through a divorce [did]!’

Best director nominees are Sam Mendes ("1917"), Martin Scorsese ("The Irishman"), Todd Phillips ("Joker"), Quentin Tarantino ("Once Upon A Time In Hollywood") and Bong Joon-ho ("Parasite"). The movies nominated for Best Film are "Joker", "1917", "The Irishman", "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" and "Parasite".

The BAFTAs ceremony takes place in London on February 2.

Daily Mail