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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their 2020 red carpet appearance at the Bafta Awards in London on Sunday night and the Duke used the opportunity to reference the improtance of ethnic diversity in his speech.
Prince William presented film producer Kathleen Kennedy with the Bafta Fellowship Award and used his speech to stress the importance of diversity within the film industry.
Addressing a captive audience at the Royal Albert Hall, he said, “Both here in the UK and in many other countries across the world we are lucky to have incredible film makers, 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.”
The Duke went on to say that Bafta bosses shared in his “frustration” over the issue and continue to work tirelessly to improve on it.
“Bafta take this issue seriously, and following this year’s nominations, have launched a full and thorough review of the entire awards process to build on their existing work and ensure that opportunities are available to everyone,” he added.
It comes after the Bafta Film Awards were criticised back in January – when the nominations were announced – as all actors nominated in the Leading Actor, Leading Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress categories were white.
Even Bafta CEO, Amanda Berry, confessed she was “disappointed” with the lack of diversity, saying, “If I’m being totally honest, no, I’m very disappointed.”
Joaquin Phoenix won the award for Leading Actor for his role in Joker and echoed Prince Williams feelings in his acceptance speech.
“We really have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism,” he said. “I think that it is the obligation of the people who have created and perpetuated and benefited from a system of oppression to dismantle it… so that’s on us.”