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Updated: May 10, 2023

The BAFTA nominations present a mixed picture for female filmmaking (directed/co-directed and/or written/co-written by a woman/women and/or non-binary people). 

On a positive note, all nominations for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer are by women and just under 50% (4/10) for Outstanding British Film are by women, which is broadly consistent with last year and a sign of progress towards equality of representation in filmmaking. 

However, with the lack of sizable nominations in both the Best Film and Director categories suggests a so-called ‘celluloid ceiling’ still exists when it comes to the type of bigger budget, ‘prestige’ titles which tend to dominate and tend to be directed and written by men. What is more, the high profile and bankability of these male directors is bolstered by the disproportionate number of top awards that they receive, which, in turn, perpetuates the inequality problem.

The Best Film and Director categories are scant at best with Gina Prince-Bythewood the only female filmmaker nominated in the Director category for the incredible THE WOMAN KING.

The only recognition within the Best Film category is for Lesley Paterson who shares writing credits with her two male counterparts for ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (directed by and co-written by Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell.)

Our research indicates that Director nominations for female filmmakers are down from previous years (three in 2021 and four in 2020).

For context, the total number of best director nominations for women is now 15, compared to 229 for men, as reported by Screen.

In more positive news, Outstanding British Film sees AFTERSUN, THE SWIMMERS (directed by Sally El Hosaini and co-written by Sally El Hosaini and Jack Thorne), THE WONDER (directed by Sebastián Lelio and co-written Sebastián Lelio & Alice Birch, and based on the book by Emma Donoghue) all receiving nominations. 

One category where female filmmakers excelled in is Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer, where all the films by nominated are by women:

AFTERSUN  – Charlotte Wells (Writer/Director)

BLUE JEAN – Georgia Oakley (Writer/Director), Hélène Sifre (Producer)

ELECTRIC MALADY – Marie Lidén (Director)


REBELLIONMaia Kenworthy (Director)

And, whilst it is encouraging that women are being given a chance to debut their work, it then becomes problematic to see that their subsequent films don’t receive the same level of recognition and support from the industry – where does this leave them?

CORSAGE (directed and written by Marie Kreutzer) and DECISION TO LEAVE (directed by Park Chan-wook and co-written by Park Chan-wook & Chung Seo-kyung) are nominated in the Film not in the English Language category.

Viola Davis for THE WOMAN KING, Emma Thompson (for GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE – written by Katy Brand and directed by Sophie Hyde) and Danielle Deadwyler for TILL (written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu and co-written by Michael Reilly, Keith Beauchamp & Chinonye Chukwu) are all in the race for Leading Actress.

Daryl McCormack joins Thompson for a nomination for GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE for Lead Actor alongside Paul Mescal for AFTERSUN.

Whilst Eddie Redmayne is nominated in the Supporting Actor category for THE GOOD NURSE (directed by Tobias Lindholm and written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, based on the book by Charles Graeber).

There is also good news in the Documentary category with two nominations for films by women: FIRE OF LOVE (directed by Sara Dosa) and ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED (directed by Laura Poitras). 

There are also two nominations in the Animation category for MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON (directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp and written by Dean Fleischer-Camp, Jenny Slate & Nick Paley) and TURNING RED (directed by Domee Shi and co-written by Domee Shi, Julia Cho & Sarah Streicher).

SHE SAID (directed by Maria Schrader and co-written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, based on the book by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey) garners two nominations for Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress for Carey Mulligan.

In the shorts categories, there are two nominations in the British Short Animation category for MIDDLE WATCH (co-directed by John Stevenson & Aiesha Penwarden) and YOUR MOUNTAIN IS WAITING (directed by Hannah Jacobs and written by Harriet Gillian). Whilst BAZIGAGA (written and directed by Jo Ingabire Moys) and BUS GIRL – (written and directed by Jessica Yu-Li Henwick) are nominated for British Short Film.


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