BAFTA Awards red carpet turns black against sexual misconduct

Apart from some brightly clad Cirque du Soleil entertainers, the unofficial dress code Sunday on the red carpet for the British Academy Film Awards is black at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Many female guests are eschewing colour to show support for the Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment and bullying.

Kristin Scott Thomas, a supporting actress nominee for Darkest Hour, says she is pleased by the conversation the entertainment industry is having about misconduct, but thinks a tougher task will be “moving it from conversation to action.”

Actress Andrea Riseborough, who brought U.K. Black Pride co-founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah as her guest, says the film industry sorely needs greater diversity.

She said: “It’s more likely we’ll see an alien onscreen than we’ll see an Asian woman at the moment, which is disgraceful.”

Almost 200 British female entertainment stars called for an international movement to end sexual misconduct across society in a letter published ahead of Sunday’s BAFTA Awards.

Kate Winslet, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emma Thompson, Naomie Harris, Emma Watson and Gemma Arterton are among those saying that 2018 should be “the year that time was up on sexual harassment and abuse.”

Announcing a fund to support women and men battling workplace abuse — modeled on the Time’s Up movement in the U.S. — the stars said “with our collective power, we can galvanize others.”

Former Harry Potter star Watson has given the fund £1 million pounds ($1.8 million Cdn), according to its page on the Go Fund Me website. Keira Knightley and Tom Hiddleston are each listed as having given 10,000 pounds ($17,600).

Feminist activists and anti-violence campaigners are set to mix with the stars on the red carpet Sunday for the awards at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Many female guests are expected to wear black, as tremors from abuse revelations rumble through the awards season.

75th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

The BAFTA awards red carpet will include a mix of actors and activists, similar to the 2018 Golden Globes where activist Marai Larasi, left, and Emma Watson attended together. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse have been leveled at scores of entertainment figures since women began coming forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein last year.

The issue has crossed the Atlantic, where the Old Vic Theatre has been rocked by allegations against former artistic director Kevin Spacey. London police are also investigating nine claims of sexual assault by Weinstein.

In a letter published in The Observer newspaper, 190 female stars called for an end to impunity for abusers and said “this movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone.”

“We believe we need to use our power as communicators and connectors to shift the way society sees and treats us,” they said. “We need to examine the kind of womanhood our industry promotes and sells to the world.”

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are also in attendance — and Kate wore a dark green dress with a black belt. Her choice found a middle way between making a political statement — something the royal family scrupulously avoids — and ignoring the gesture altogether.

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Britain’s Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, at last year’s BAFTA awards in London. William is the president of Britain’s film academy. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/The Associated Press)

Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley will host the awards ceremony, where the monster fantasy The Shape of Water, the tragi-comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and the World War II flag-waver Darkest Hour are the front-runners.

All three are up for best film, alongside the sun-drenched romance Call Me By Your Name and the World War II drama Dunkirk.

Gary Oldman is the favourite to take the best-actor trophy for his Golden Globe-winning portrayal of British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. He’s up against fellow Brits Daniel Day-Lewis for Phantom Thread, Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out and Jamie Bell for Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, as well as American actor Timothee Chalamet for Call Me By Your Name.

The best-actress race is an international contest, pitting American Frances McDormand as a bereaved mother in Three Billboards against Britain’s Sally Hawkins for The Shape Of Water, Irish actress Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird, U.S. star Annette Bening for Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool and Australia’s Margot Robbie for I, Tonya.

Ridley Scott, whose films include Blade RunnerAlien, Thelma and Louise and Gladiator, is set to receive the academy’s highest honour, the BAFTA Fellowship.

The British trophies, known as BAFTAs, are considered a key indicator of likely success at Hollywood’s Oscars in two weeks’ time.


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