Back to IndieWire

Cynthia Erivo Won’t Perform at BAFTAs After All-White Nominees Spark Outrage

Erivo turned down an offer to perform her "Harriet" anthem at the British equivalent of the Oscars, saying that she's not "a party trick."

Cynthia Erivo77th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 05 Jan 2020

Cynthia Erivo


Cynthia Erivo could land two Academy Award nominations on Monday morning: one for Best Actress for her applauded turn in “Harriet,” and another as singer and performer of the period drama film’s musical anthem, “Stand Up.” However, Erivo did not land a BAFTA nomination earlier this week for “Harriet,” and neither did any people of color across the four acting categories. While the BAFTAs do not have a Best Original Song category, barring Erivo from a nomination there, the British Academy did invite her to perform “Stand Up” at the ceremony, which is being held February 2. However, in the wake of #BAFTAsSoWhite, Erivo has turned down the offer.

Erivo confirmed to Extra (via People) her refusal to perform at the BAFTAs, telling the outlet, “I felt like [the invitation] didn’t represent people of color in the right light,” she told the outlet. “It felt like it was calling on me as an entertainer as opposed to a person who was a part of the world of film, and I think that it’s important to make it known that it’s not something you throw in as a party trick, you know?”

Erivo received both a Screen Actors Guild nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for “Harriet,” which, snubbed altogether by the BAFTAs, released in the U.K. on November 22 last year. “I work hard and every single person of color who is working in these films this year has worked really hard, and there are many of them who deserve to be celebrated,” Erivo said. “And no women directors, I was just like, ‘C’mon.’”

As previously announced this week, the British Academy is reviewing its voting process in response to the all-white outrage (not to mention that the Best Director category featured only male nominees). BAFTA’s film committee chair Marc Samuelson said there is an “infuriating lack of diversity in the acting noms,” while adding, “It’s just a frustration that the industry is not moving as fast as certainly the whole BAFTA team would like it to be.” Samuelson has since promised a “careful and detailed review [of the voting process] within and outside the membership.”

Monday morning’s Oscar nominations are expected to skew white and male as well. With SAG support behind her, however, Erivo has a strong shot at earning her first Oscar nomination, for Best Actress. (Read our predictions here.)

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox