LONDON — “Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao’s drama about a middle-aged woman who travels across the United States in a van seeking itinerant work, scored the biggest number of high-profile nominations for this year’s EE British Academy Film Awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars.
On Tuesday, the film, which stars Frances McDormand and won the Golden Globe for best drama in February, picked up seven nominations for the awards, commonly known as the BAFTAs.
It will compete for best film against “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Promising Young Woman,” “The Father” and “The Mauritanian.”
The best-film nominees are almost the same as the titles that competed for best drama at this year’s Golden Globes. (Only “Mank,” David Fincher’s revisiting of “Citizen Kane,” is missing, replaced by “The Mauritanian.”) But in the talent categories for this year’s BAFTAs, the nominees are more diverse than the Golden Globe lists. Many come from low-budget, independent films, such as “Rocks,” a British coming-of-age tale about a Black teenager in London, that also received seven nominations.
overhaul of BAFTA’s voting rules to increase the diversity of the nominees after recent criticism. Last year, no people of color were nominated in the BAFTAs’ main acting categories, and no women were nominated for best director. Those omissions prompted a social media furor and criticism from the stage at the award ceremony. “I think that we sent a very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here,” Joaquin Phoenix said when accepting the best-actor award for his performance in “Joker.”
BAFTA required all of its 6,700 voting members to undergo unconscious bias training before voting on this year’s nominees, as well as requiring them to watch a selection of 15 films to stretch the range of titles viewed. Among dozens of other changes to the voting procedures to increase the diversity of the nominees, they were selected for the first time from “longlists” prepared by BAFTA, with the input of specialist juries.
In contrast to the male-skewed nominee lists of previous years, four of the best-director nominees announced on Tuesday are women; four of the six nominees in both leading actor categories are people of color.
In the best-director category, for example, Chloé Zhao has been nominated for “Nomadland” and will compete against Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari”; Sarah Gavron for “Rocks”; Shannon Murphy for “Babyteeth”; Jasmila Zbanic for “Quo Vadis, Aida?” a retelling of a massacre in the Bosnian War of the 1990s; and Thomas Vinterberg for “Another Round,” a dark comedy about Danish attitudes to alcohol.
In the best-actress category, Frances McDormand, the star of “Nomadland,” will compete against Radha Blank for her role in “The Forty-Year-Old Version,” Wunmi Mosaku for the horror film “His House,” and Bukky Bakray, the teenage star of “Rocks.” That list includes fewer recognizable star names than previous years: Rosamund Pike and Andra Day, who won the main actress awards at this year’s Golden Globes, are missing.
not allowed in England until May 17 at the earliest.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is scheduled next Monday to announce nominations for this year’s Oscars.