Robert Pattinson, Alicia Vikander, Himesh Patel Among Record Number of New BAFTA Members (EXCLUSIVE)
- Robert Pattinson, Alicia Vikander, Sam Rockwell, Melissa McCarthy, Joanne Froggatt, Himesh Patel and Nicholas Hoult are among the record-setting 559 new members joining BAFTA in 2019, Variety can reveal. The new class includes a number of recent BAFTA Award nominees, such as composer Nicholas Britell (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), director and producer “Arthur Cary” (“Grayson Perry: All Man”), and production designer Fiona Crombie and set decorator Alice Felton, who both won a BAFTA for their work on “The Favourite.” The new members are drawn from a mix of individuals applying directly and those who were invited. In both cases they have to pass strict vetting and fulfill eligibility criteria. As well as film and TV, the new intake spans games. There are also numerous craft names in the mix, including special-effects expert Chris Lyons, whose recent work includes fashioning Rami Malek’s teeth for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The record 2019 intake will bolster the overall BAFTA membership, which was already at about 8,000. Approximately 1,300 of those members are in the U.S. Being a Brit is not required; the new members are based in 11 different countries, and the wider membership is drawn from 39 territories.
Applications for membership are received first before BAFTA adds people to be invited. That allows the organization to try to ensure a wide spread of people inducted into the British Academy. “We are fortunate to have a membership that broadly reflects the industry, but we don’t want to rest on our laurels. We know there is systemic under-representation in some parts of the industry,” Emma Baehr, director of awards and membership, told Variety. “We are committed long-term to creating opportunity, and so our aim every year is to make the new membership intake as inclusive as possible, and that’s across different roles in the sectors. And we do also absolutely prioritize individuals from under-represented areas.”
Baehr also highlighted new members who have been part of BAFTA’s talent programs and initiatives such as Ronke Adékoluẹjo (“Cold Feet”) and Rhoda Ofori-Attah (“Top Boy”), who participated in the organization’s Elevate program, and writer Laurie Nunn (“Sex Education”), who is one of its Breakthrough Brits.
British actor Patel was a judge on the Elevate program in 2019.
Having been in New Zealand shooting “The Luminaries,” Patel is about to start work on HBO series “Station Eleven.” He told Variety that the British Academy “represents the height of creativity.” He added: “It has such a broad reach, and I feel they use that for good. There are schemes up and down the country, Elevate being one. It is about collaboration, about celebrating the best of what we have – that’s what excites me about now being a member.”