Sarah Polley explains her BAFTA snub: ‘I did eat an astonishing (and greedy) number of scones and sandwiches’ at tea party

Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”) think she knows why she was just snubbed for Best Director at the 2023 BAFTA Awards. And it has nothing to do with her filmmaking abilities. Responding to upset fans on social media, the director jokingly tweeted, “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.”

Aww, we love how Polley is able to find some humor in her awards misfortune. The good news is that, even though “Women Talking” was blanked at the BAFTAs, it’s still predicted to nab Oscar nominations on January 24 for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (Polley) and Best Score (Hildur Guðnadóttir), according to Gold Derby odds. And Polley has a Critics Choice trophy for Best Adapted Screenplay to keep her company during this time of mourning.

This year, BAFTA enacted a new jury system that decided the final contenders in several key categories, including Best Director. In Round One, the chapter voted and the top five female and top five male directed films were longlisted. A jury picked three female and three male directors from the next 10 ranking female and male directed films. In Round Two, the top two chapter choices were nominated and a jury added four more names. In other words, there was gender parity required on the longlist but not in the actual nominations.

The BAFTA nominees for Best Director include just one female contender — Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Woman King”) — while all the rest are male: Edward Berger (“All Quiet on the Western Front”), Park Chan-wook (“Decision To Leave”), Todd Field (“Tár”), Daniel Kwan/Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”) and Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”).

“Women Talking” is based on the 2018 novel by Miriam Toews and tells the story of a group of women in a remote Mennonite community who struggle with what to do about their abusive husbands. The A-list cast is comprised of Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Ben Whishaw and Frances McDormand. Only Whishaw was longlisted by BAFTA, but he, too, was snubbed on Thursday morning.

Earlier this awards season, “Women Talking” was honored at the AFI Awards as one of the Top 10 movies of the year. It also scooped up countless prizes from nationwide critics groups. Looking ahead, it’s nominated at the SAG Awards for Best Film Ensemble and at the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Polley) and Best Screenplay (Polley).

The 2023 BAFTA nominations were dominated by “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which scored a record-tying 14 bids. Next in line were “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “Everything Everywhere All At Once” with 10 noms apiece and then “Elvis” at nine mentions. The BAFTA ceremony will take place on February 19.

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