It is a question that came to mind when I saw a piece by David Cox on the Baftas. I missed this year’s Baftas, so I watched some of it on YouTube, we all have these days, 35 things to do and we cannot change the rotating speed of this planet, so I remained in a setting where I had 24 hours to get things done. As such I missed the speech by Prince William (and the rest of the show).
I do not believe that I would ask for any resignation, especially a royal, that is how I am wired, but I was still curious. When I read that part I wondered if there is an actual issue. I understand the position that David Cox gives, but let’s not forget that this is about excellence. Diversity will be hard to achieve in excellence (for a few reasons).
To clear my mind I went back to an event I always wondered about. It was 1986 and a legendary book got made into a movie by no one else than Steven Spielberg namely the Color Purple, then I got a small shock, I had forgotten that Kathleen Kennedy was part of that too, the recipient of the Fellowship Award. And there we see the first part, excellence is about perfection and even as I see the Color Purple as sheer perfection, those who are in the field and judge perfection did not see it my way, and in addition to that, 1986 also produced Ran, Out of Africa, Prizzi’s honor, Jagged Edge, Brazil (a personal favourite), the original French movie that would result in the making of Three Men and a baby, Witness and Kiss of the Spider Woman. A year full of greats and only a few make it to become winners, the Color Purple did not make it, they did get 11 nominations, no wins. In that same light we see Kathleen Kennedy, as a producer she has a massive list of achievements, most people are revered when they only deliver on 50% of what Kathleen delivered, and I have seen most of her work. Yet I see that a lot of them would never be best movie material. Is that bad? No, it was not on her plate as producer and she was part of flawless gems too. Raiders of the lost Ark, the Color Purple, Jurassic Park, A.I., Munich are a few extracts of a list that is well over 10 times larger and this year she got the Fellowship Award. So when I see ‘Prince William’s Baftas tirade was insultingly misdirected – he should resign as its president‘, I merely wonder what the angle of David Cox is.
Does he have a point?
From where I am sitting we see that 871 movies were released in 2018, and in 2019 786 movies were made, as such I wonder how many were seen? I am certain that the account of best feature-length film and documentaries of any nationality that were screened at British cinemas in 2019. will give the sitting that not all have been seen, and the limitation that I am merely looking at the movies, I have not even gone into the documentary setting.
Then there is ‘that were screened at British cinemas‘, a limitation from the get go, as such is the call for scrutiny that bad a thing to ask for?
As such when we get to ‘Is the Duke of Cambridge sabotaging the voting system? Or simply saving face by attacking an acceptable – if innocent – party?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/feb/06/prince-williams-baftas-tirade-insultingly-misdirected-should-resign-as-president) I am not sure if the stage is warranted. Consider the Nollywood movie ‘Lionheart‘, it was not regarded in a few places, just like the Irishman, oh wait! It was not released in the cinema, it went to Netflix. he Irishman did go to cinema’s as well, as such we see the first level of discrimination, discrimination through the paticipation rules. So was Lionheart ‘screened at British cinemas‘? I actually do not know the answer to that, as such we see a larger stage, do we allow for a larger group or is the stage ‘screened at British cinemas‘ a final point?
So as I see “What can he have meant?” as a asking rule in the article, I wonder if that was considered in the right stage? When we see the limiting factor right there in red. Yet then we also see a larger point that I reflected on “when compared with the competition, I don’t think any of these constitutes the year’s “best film”. Many of these titles were well-directed, but they tended not to require the outstanding directing skill required to snag the director award” this is how I see it, there is a larger stage and I would not have elected some titles and elected others, yet I am not a movie expert. I would have elected the Color Purple over Out of Africa, but that is my personal view, and it has nothing to do with winner Sydney Pollack, it is a great picture, but i prefered the other one and I believe that I am not alone, as 5 movies were elected as nominees and all 5 were worthy to become best picture, which is unlike 1982 where I merely liked Raiders of the lost ark. It is no reflection on the other nominees either.
Was the speech of the Duke of Cambridge wrong?
I personally do not think so, the stage where all factors are under scrutiny is a good thing, especially these days, and lets not forget that most of these are awards based on votes, and the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-51345085) gives us ““There’s definitely a problem,” said actor Daniel Kaluuya referring to the diversity row engulfing this year’s Bafta nominations (all shortlisted actors are white, all shortlisted directors are male)“, in this I have a slightly different view. If we look at the graduated directors list by gender over the last 20 years, how many women made it? No one debates that Kathryn Bigelow is a GREAT director (Hurt locker and Zero Dark Thirty being excellent examples), yet how many female directors are that good? I am not posing a point, it is an actual question as I do not have an answer.
I am for the most (unlike the past) more into watching blockbusters, not because it is what I want, but like many others our budgets have shrunk, and as such I have limited choice. there is another part, it is shown in the BBC article “Berry said she thought it was because the film wasn’t very high-profile when it came out in the UK, and that a lot of her members didn’t know about it and hadn’t seen it.” the quote comes in response of “Amanda Berry, Bafta’s chief executive, appears to be aware that her members are not seeing all the films, which obviously affects the nominations” there is the crux, because 786 movies were made, I reckon that 500 made it into the UK (a mere guess) as such how many were seen? If the stage is ‘screened at British cinemas‘, how many were not seen and as thus not considered? Did David Cox consider that?
Perhaps he did and perhaps he did not, as such we see a different stage, there is only so much that a person can watch and there is the discrimination, only those we see get considered, it is not based on colour or faith, it is for many merely the limitation of time to the equation. And that gets us to the BBC gem “The assumption should be that Bafta voters are knowledgeable and curious and above being swayed by the big movies with the big stars and the big marketing budgets. The implication from Berry suggests otherwise.” I believe that this is the issue that we currently face.
It was still good to read the point of view that David Cox gave us, but I do not believe it to be correct, or at least it is inaccurate. The BBC gives us the goods that have the impact we need to consider and I got there even before I read the BBC article. Even as people like Steve McQueen states that there is a risk if talent is not recognised, we need to consider that the amount of movies made largely outstips the ability to see them, to see all the movies of 2019 I would have to watch 2 movies on most days and remember them all in the end, I wonder how many are up to that task, as such the stage that the Duke of Cambridge brings has a larger footing and becomes a truth by itself “In 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more about diversity in the sector and in the awards process. That simply cannot be right in this day and age.” In this the Duke was correct and David Cox was wrong, the mere acceptance of one element and the direct impact of simple metrics brought this to the surface and I am a little surprised that David overlooked this, I wonder how many movies he watched for the 2019 election and which ones they were.
Perhaps he saw them all, perhaps not, I cannot tell and when we look at that part especially in light of what was ‘screened at British cinemas‘, will we see a dissenting voice of titles that were overlooked or forgotten about?