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The Cambridges attend BAFTAS, William calls for more diversity in film


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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the BAFTA Awards on Sunday evening, highlighting the best of film over the past year, while also making a plea for diversity in the film industry.

William, who has been President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts since 2010, and Kate attended the ceremony for the fourth time.

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Kate re-wore an Alexander McQueen dress previously worn during her 2012 visit to Malaysia, as the BAFTA dress code aimed at sustainability. Earlier in the week, it was announced that BAFTA organisers had requested that attendees re-wear an outfit, find a vintage or sustainably-produced outfit, or rent/borrow one for the evening.

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During the ceremony, the Duke and Duchess watched as Sam Mendes’ First World War epic 1917 won seven awards—including Best Film and Best Outstanding British Film, and Best Director.

They also watched as Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger, Brad Pitt (who wasn’t there, his award was accepted on his behalf by co-star Margot Robbie), and Laura Dern won in the acting categories. Andy Serkis received a Special Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema for his work in pioneering motion-capture performances, and Micheal Ward received the EE Rising Star Award.

William helped present the Fellowship Award to producer Kathleen Kennedy, who helms Lucasfilm and is best known for producing Star Wars properties and Steven Spielberg’s films (from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to the Indiana Jones franchise, Schindler’s List, and the Jurassic Park franchise).

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“This year the award goes to a simply legendary figure in film. Someone whose films I have been watching all my life, and continue to watch time and time again. I couldn’t be happier she is receiving this award.”

He then introduced Star Wars actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega to present Kennedy with her award.

Before that, Prince William also used his speech to call out the lack of diversity in this year’s BAFTA nominations, as all of the acting nominees were white—a trend that has sadly been the norm throughout the film industry despite attempts to change this.

He said, “Both here in the UK and in many other countries across the world we are lucky to have incredible filmmakers, actors, producers, directors and technicians – men and women from all backgrounds and ethnicities enriching our lives through film.

“Yet in 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process – that simply cannot be right in this day and age!”

He announced that the BAFTA organisation would be launching an internal review to ensure that “opportunities are available to everyone” by examining the entire awards process.

He also made a joke about his decade working with BAFTA, noting that many past winners and nominees had an alarming similarity: “I must admit I don’t know whether I should be proud, or slightly alarmed, about the number of winners over the last decade who have portrayed members of my own family.”

Following the ceremony, the Cambridges met with the BAFTA winners on stage, including Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger, who won Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively. William was overheard telling Phoenix that he thought Joker was well-done.

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About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.