‘Spencer’ Got Snubbed by the BAFTAs, Which Are Headed by Prince William

But it’s not necessarily a bad omen for Kristen Stewart’s Oscar chances.

kristen stewart
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The BAFTAs are the British equivalent of the Oscars, and are every bit as prestigious. And whether BAFTA winners are an indicator of who wins Academy Awards—the BAFTAs are earlier in the season, but Oscar voting is “closed” to the Academy and is largely complete by the time the British awards air in early March—they definitely highlight whose performances in film made an impact on the year. While IndieWire notes that some films that sweep at the Oscars go largely ignored by the BAFTAs, occasionally the momentum of winning a category across the pond can fuel a big Oscar night as well. 

But one film that’s largely seen as an Oscar frontrunner got utterly snubbed by the BAFTAS—Spencer, Pablo Larrain’s fantastical take on the fateful weekend in which Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles imploded. While Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Princess Diana has earned her a ton of Oscars hype in the U.S., the BAFTAs are pretending that the movie doesn’t exist.

It’s not immediately clear what happened, but a few things could be at play simultaneously. For one, despite the film (and Stewart) getting nods from dozens of other awards shows, Spencer just didn’t get that much enthusiasm from British movie-goers. Maybe the idea of an American actress in a film by a Chilean director covering a delicate moment in British history was too out-there for mainstream Brit audiences.  

The other scenario, of course, is that Prince William has been president of the BAFTA organization since 2010, part of his long-time support of British arts. While BAFTA award-winners are decided on by voters, it’s speculated that his presence in the organization precluded some people from wanting to show too much support for a film that doesn’t exactly show his family in a good light. Again, there is no confirmation that this is what happened, and there likely won’t be—but it’s something people are openly speculating about. After all, the royals famously refuse to watch dramatic portrayals of themselves—although there are rumors they secretly watch The Crown, even though they’ve repeatedly publicly denied it.

Not that Kristen Stewart cares about awards. Per People, the actress told Variety’s Award Circuit podcast (opens in new tab) that she doesn’t “give a shit” about the Oscars, and explained, “The Oscars are such a funny thing. There are so many incredible movies and performances that barely get seen.” She added, “I really appreciate that something that I was involved in has ignited such a large conversation…We don't make movies to not connect with each other."

With Oscar nominations announced later this week, let’s hope that the BAFTAs aren’t a portend for what to expect from stateside award shows—we’re really rooting for K.Stew on this one.