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Sarah Polley Addresses ‘Women Talking’ BAFTA Snub: ‘No Regrets’

Polley instead praised Gina Prince-Bythewood's "The Woman King" nomination, writing, "This nomination for you was all I needed today to be happy."

Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley

FilmMagic/Getty

Sarah Polley is talking about her 2023 BAFTA Awards snub.

The “Women Talking” writer-director responded to the star-studded film being iced out of the British awards ceremony following the announcement that Netflix’s “All Quiet on the Western Front” broke a new record for nominations.

Polley retweeted film awards podcast host Matt Neglia’s post saying his “heart is truly broken” for “Women Talking.”

She replied, “I appreciate that, but to give context to the snub, I did eat an astonishing (and greedy) number of scones and sandwiches at the BAFTA tea party. My plate was piled so high. I got some warning looks. I didn’t heed them. But it was worth every delicious morsel. No regrets.”

The BAFTA tea party was held at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills January 15.

Polley also praised “The Woman King” director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s nomination, writing, “GINA!!!! So happy for you. May this deserved recognition continue. This nomination for you was all I needed today to be happy.”

“Women Talking” stars Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Rooney Mara, Frances McDormand, and Judith Ivey as Mennonite women debating what steps should be taken about the rampant rape in their remote religious community. The film is based on Miriam Toews’ novel.

“It raised so many questions for me that I wanted to unpack, but also, this was a film I wanted in the world for my kids in terms of what it had to say about how you analyze a world that isn’t working in a productive way, how to imagine a world that might work, and how to take the lead to go and create it,” Polley told IndieWire. “I worked on the script for a very, very long time with many, many drafts. There came a point where I would do a draft for every character.”

Polley reflected on working with Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow and coming to terms with the “systemic” sexism in Hollywood against female directors.

“It helps me to take every swipe in stride, to realize that this is what it’s like,” Polley said. “In a systemic way, I could kind of sit back and criticize it and be conscious of wanting it to change. On a day-to-day level, I didn’t want to get bogged down by it. I wasn’t going to be thrown off by a bunch of sexist swipes that I knew were coming. Of course those happen. Every financing meeting I had when I was trying to make my first film, which never got made — well, of course there was sexism in those meetings. The sense was, ‘How could you ever take an actress seriously as a director?'”

She added, “At some point you can’t keep smashing against the wall. A few of those women made it through and a lot of them didn’t. We lost so many voices in the same way that we’ve lost so many BIPOC voices. How many generations are we losing to the everyday grind and battle of feeling like people don’t want you in a room?”

The full list of 2023 BAFTA Award nominees can be found here.

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