• Emily Prescott

Why everyone should stop talking about the BAFTAs and talk about the Visionary Honours awards

Why are we still talking about the weekend’s BAFTAs when the Visionary Honours awards should really be the favourite?

Sir Lenny Henry hosted the Visionary Honours evening on Friday (February 8), Professor Green and Rag’n’Bone Man gave a special performance,and Nelson Mandela’s grandson made a speech as all the profits were donated to Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund.

The awards celebrated entertainment, culture and media which inspires positive change, whereas the BAFTAs has a long history of not celebrating diversity. In 2018, a report found 94 per cent of all BAFTA film award nominees have been white.

Sir Lenny Henry, when introducing the evening in the same building as the BAFTAs, nodded to the questionable iconography: “Here we are at the fantastic BAFTA building.

"Where better to help people from less affluent backgrounds than an organisation with a mascot that’s a giant face made of gold.”

To be fair, the winners at this year's BAFTA film awards were not all pale, male and stale. The Mexican film Roma won best film, while Olivia Coleman won best actress and Rami Malek won best actor for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

But we need to turn the spotlight on this new award ceremony.

Ten awards were won at the Visionary Honours. To name a few, Black Panther was chosen as film of the year, Doctor Who, which currently stars the first ever female lead Jodie Whittaker, won TV show of the year and Kevin Hines accepted an award for his film The Ripple Effect, which discusses suicide and the power of stories and hope.

Chidera Eggerue, who is known for her online campaign #SaggyBoobsMatter, won an award for her book What A Time To Be Alone: The Slumflower’s Guide To Why You Are Already Enough.

Former American first lady Michelle Obama received the award for Most Inspiring Person of the Year while the musical Hamilton also scooped awards in its categories.

Producer Sarah Gough and journalist Krishnan Guru Murthy accepted an award for their powerful new podcast, Ways To Change The World.

Meanwhile, a special Legacy Honour Award was given posthumously to Nelson Mandela.

When Professor Green accepted his award for the song Photographs he said: “I’m not good accepting awards, I never know what to say. I’ve never had media training, neither has Liam Neeson apparently!”

Sadly, the cancellation of Neeson’s movie premiere following controversial racial remarks received more media attention than Friday night’s star-studded and uplifting event.

The BAFTA film awards evening is obviously exciting: Coleman is fantastic and Malek is extraordinarily talented. But the most exciting win for BAFTA this week is that they hosted the Visionary Honours. It's just a shame no one noticed.


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