THE voting process behind the major acting awards – who wins, and who misses out – is a mysterious one.
Like the fact there are only men on the Oscars contenders list for Best Director this year, with Greta Gerwig, director of Little Women, notable by her absence.
The whole voting system is shrouded in secrecy. I was once a judge for the Bafta sports awards, although I will probably never be again after this admission.
After being invited to attend and judge I was reprimanded for taking a picture outside the Bafta building (I couldn’t resist getting evidence of me standing next to the large Bafta trophy!) and told I had breached the rules and I had to delete it.
Even when I was in the room with fellow judges the voting was secret: I was handed a piece of paper to vote on which was silently given back. I was not told who had won or allowed to discuss who I had voted for.
But who knows what agenda is being followed by various people who vote for the different awards.
What we do know is that not everyone seems to get the awards we think they deserve. Still. The fact that the brilliant British actress Cynthia Erivo has not even been nominated for a Bafta really is confusing — especially since she is close to making showbiz history as the youngest person to win an EGOT — a complete set of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.
In other words, the powers that be in America know how great she is. It’s just us Brits who won’t acknowledge it.
With three in the bag already, Cynthia, 33, was last week nominated for Best Actress Oscar for her role as real-life slave heroine Harriet Tubman in the film Harriet.
But a Bafta nomination for that? Not a sniff.
Cynthia is such an inspiring example of a British success story.
She grew up in council housing in London and had a difficult start after her father walked out when she was a baby.
Other people’s lives might have gone badly awry. But Cynthia demonstrated tremendous resilience, plus sheer determination, to make it in her chosen career — no matter what.
Her stepfather, Samuel Uregbula, who married five-year-old Cynthia’s mum Edith in 1992, is full of admiration for her. “She hasn’t let anything get her down,” he told The Sun in an exclusive interview this week. “She has just worked hard.”
No kidding has she worked hard — and boy has it paid off. She now counts Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg as friends, and in America they can’t get enough of her. She’s often on magazine covers and talk shows.
So why the heck aren’t we all talking about her over here?
And why did she have to go over to the States to experience such success?
She is not the first British actor who made it when they left the UK. Idris Elba, who grew up in East London, only be- came a household name after his role in The Wire.
Then there is Naomie Harris, who co-starred in Moonlight, and John Boyega, who was in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, who joined the likes of David Harewood and Thandie Newton in Hollywood.
What bothers me is even now Cynthia has made it big, we still won’t acknowledge her.
The B in Bafta stands for British. Shame on Bafta for not recognising this young woman’s talent — even after America has.
If they are not there to support up-and-coming (or, in this case, up and come) British talent then what are they there for? This institution risks becoming obsolete if it fails to recognise talent until the talent has been recognised by Hollywood.
We should be all shouting from the rooftops about Cynthia’s talent.
Gwyn lights our candle
IT did make me laugh to read that, despite all the other enormous life events going on over the past week, by far the most popular story on one broadsheet newspaper’s website this week is about Gwyneth Paltrow’s “vagina-scented” candle for sale on her wellness site, Goop (It is sold out already, in case you were thinking that sounded appealing).
I guess this really does go to show that if you are a celebrity you can put your name to anything and it will sell.
Love Love Island
IS anyone else watching Love Island?
I confess that I am, and all I can say is the show really has surpassed itself when it comes to gathering together the most vacuous bunch of airheads yet.
It actually scares me to think that one of this lot will not only become a millionaire, but a role model and an influencer.
Is it any wonder that so many of our generation are totally screwed up, with their values in all of the wrong places?
Give A&E times the finger
LIKE most people, I agreed with Boris Johnson when he said NHS waits are “unacceptable” and I am delighted he has pledged more investment.
But I’m also pleased to hear that a key A&E target could be ditched.
The PM told the Commons he was determined to improve services after official data showed that in November only 81.4 per cent of emergency patients were seen within four hours.
It is the worst performance ever against the target that 95 per cent of A&E patients should be seen and treated, discharged or admitted to hospital within that time.
But then Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested the measure will be scrapped, as it does not reflect the true performance of the NHS.
Good: they SHOULD be scrapped as waiting time doesn’t take into account if you go to A&E with a heart attack or a broken nail.
If you go in for a heart attack you will be seen before four hours. If you go in for a broken finger nail you shouldn’t be seen at all, let alone within four hours . . .
Kids are teachers, not babysitters
GOSH, parents at Holy Trinity C of E Primary, in Gravesend, Kent, really have some nerve.
Apparently, they are fuming after the school announced it will fine them £1 for every five minutes they are late picking up their kids – and ring social services if they don’t collect them by 4pm.
This rule was brought in to target those picking up their kids ten minutes late – any time after 3.40pm.
The policy has been branded a “disgrace” by parents. And the headteacher has been slammed for punishing less well-off families.
But I couldn’t agree more with the fine: if school finishes at 3.30pm . . . be there at 3.30pm.
The people who educate your kids are teachers, not babysitters.
Ward off dads with matron
ANYONE else hear a collective screech of panic from expectant mothers up and down the land at the prospect of new fathers being banned from maternity wards?
Midwives at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary have accused expectant fathers of treating maternity wards “like a hotel” by sharing beds with their partners and ordering takeaways.
Apparently, new mothers there are too embarrassed to breastfeed or get changed as there are so many men staying at the postnatal unit.
Staff say too many visitors put a strain on their ability to deliver care, but that’s all wrong.
Fathers of newborn babies should act as another pair of hands, taking the strain OFF midwives, rather than adding to it.
Surely any man whose partner has just given birth has the potential to be a support and an asset to the bewildered new mother in recovery?
It’s only the idiot dads that need to be banned.
Granted, those ordering takeaways (ahem, my husband Paul ordered a pizza when I was in labour!), sleeping in the same bed as their wife and generally being a pain in the a*** should be banned.
But those men who support their partners, change nappies, respect others on the ward and nip to the canteen for refreshments should surely be welcome.
What we really need back, with her no-nonsense approach, strict adherence to visiting times and rules like no sitting on beds, is Matron!
THE proud beams on the faces of parents Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa, as they watched their son, Sam, being sworn in as a firefighter with the Jersey City Fire Department last Tuesday said it all.
Springsteen is probably one of the most famous singers in the world – and likely one of the richest. He could not have looked happier as he sat in the front row as Sam, 26, was sworn in.
“We’re very proud,” Bruce told reporters at the ceremony. “We’re just excited for him today.”
I love this story. It shows that you can be the child of a celebrity or a wealthy person and still have your own passions and career – and do something with your life rather than expect the bank of mum and dad to foot all your bills.
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