Lumley’s appointment became all the more pertinent alongside the growth of the Time’s Up movement – a campaign to combat sexual harassment and abuse not just in the film industry but in all working environments – that was gathering momentum at this time. Ahead of Awards' night, BAFTA worked with the Time’s Up campaign to facilitate a red carpet photo opp. for industry supporters – including Greta Gerwig, Barbara Broccoli and Salma Hayek – and a wider group of female activists, including Everyday Sexism’s Laura Bates and UK Black Pride’s Phyll Opoku-Gyimah. Echoing the Golden Globes the previous month, the majority of female presenters and nominees wore black to the ceremony with a Time’s Up pin-badge to show solidarity and help spread the message.
When Francis McDormand accepted her Leading Actress BAFTA for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri that night, she expressed her appreciation for “a well organised act of civil disobedience” – in reference to the activism that Three Billboards had inspired. But there was another act of civil disobedience impossible to ignore at the Film Awards this year, when Sisters Uncut activists staged a protest (against proposed government cuts to domestic abuse services) on the red carpet during arrivals. As McDormand observed at the end of her speech: “Power to the people.”
Main image: EE Rising Star nominee Florence Pugh shows off her Time’s Up ring on the red carpet (BAFTA/James Gourley/Rex/Shutterstock)