Sir Sam Mendes’ 1917 film sweeps Baftas with seven gongs
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Sir Sam Mendes’ 1917 film sweeps Baftas with seven gongs

First World War epic picked up awards including best film, outstanding British film, best director and best cinematography

Left: Sam Mendes in the press room after winning the award for Best Film with 1917 at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards. Right: Taika Waititi with the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. (Photo credit: Ian West/PA Wire)
Left: Sam Mendes in the press room after winning the award for Best Film with 1917 at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards. Right: Taika Waititi with the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. (Photo credit: Ian West/PA Wire)

War epic 1917 has swept up at the British Academy film awards but the ceremony faced criticism for lack of diversity among its nominees.

Sir Sam Mendes‘s deeply personal film, based on a story told to him by his grandfather, won seven of the nine prizes it was nominated for, including best film, outstanding British film, best director and best cinematography.

Mendes, whose mother is Jewish, said: “I feel very honoured and privileged to be here tonight – Bafta has always been very supportive of my career and I’m deeply appreciative. But I have to say that I also feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege.

“I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here, I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from.”

He added: “I think that we really have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. I think it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuated and benefited from a system of oppression to dismantle it, so that’s on us.”

Joaquin Phoenix (Photo credit: Matt Crossick/PA Wire)

Joaquin Phoenix, whose mother was born to Ashkenazi Jewish parents, was named best actor for Joker and used his speech to address the fact only white performers were nominated this year.

 Jojo Rabbit, the Nazi satire follows a 10-year-old member of the Hitler Youth, whose imaginary friend is Hitler, won best adapted screenplay.

Taika Waititi, whose often goes by his mother’s surname, Cohen, sad he has mixed feelings about people calling him a good fit to play Adolf Hitler in Jojo Rabbit.

Among Jewish hopefuls who were unsuccessful at the glittering awards ceremony, were Scarlett Johansson who failed in her bid for leading actress and supporting actress gongs.

 

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