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Baftas 2020: Rebel Wilson crushes industry sexism in hilarious and risqué speech

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Anna Brech
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Rebel Wilson at the 2020 Baftas

In a series of increasingly risqué jokes at the 2020 Baftas tonight, comedian Rebel Wilson reached her finale with a perfect quip about the lack of female director nominees. 

Sexism in Hollywood is no laughing matter, but sometimes humour is the best form of attack. 

Comedian Rebel Wilson proved this point in genius style this evening, as she presented the award for best director at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards.

Five directors were nominated in the category, including Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. Notably, however, none were women.

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In a hilarious and, at times, outrageously provocative, speech, Wilson at first appeared to play it straight as she paid tribute to the best director nominees. 

“I look at the exceptional, daring talent nominated in this category,” she began, “And I just don’t think I could do what they do.

“Honestly,” she added. “I just don’t have the balls.”

The quip drew huge cheers of approval from the crowd, which included Prince William and Kate Middleton in the front row. 

Perhaps more uncomfortably for the royal couple, Wilson’s speech also included a series of increasingly risqué jokes about Prince Andrew, coronavirus and her vagina.

But it was her flawless shout-out to industry sexism that won the most plaudits on Twitter. 

In fact, many of those watching decided right then and there that Wilson’s fearless minute-long address made her one of the heroes of the night.

Though the Baftas panel failed to include any female directors in their shortlist this year, there’s no shortage of talent for the category.

Greta Gerwig has already landed several nominations elsewhere for her re-telling of Louisa May Alcott classic Little Women, while Lulu Wang has won rave reviews for her “moving and witty” family drama The Farewell.

Honey Boy director Alma Har’el was also snubbed by this year’s director nominations, as was  Lorene Scafaria, the brains behind Hustler; a huge critical and commercial success of 2019.

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 Research shows that when women are in the director’s chair, they hire more female editors, writers, cinematographers and producers as a result.

And yet, without the spotlight that these women deserve, they cannot create visibility for others to follow in their footsteps.

Sam Mendes went onto win the best director Bafta tonight, for his war epic 1917. But in the eyes of social media, it was Wilson’s cutting one-liners that really brought home the goods.

Images: Getty

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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