Oscars diversity row may provide drama at Evening Standard film awards


There may be awkward scenes at the Evening Standard British Film Awards later - should Idris Elba and Charlotte Rampling find themselves sharing a stage.

The pair have been nominated for leading role gongs at the ceremony and both have taken strikingly different stances in the diversity row sparked by this year's Oscars.

Rampling, who is up for best actress for her performance in 45 Years, sparked controversy when she told a French radio station that criticism of the Academy was "racist to white people" - words she later claimed had been misinterpreted.

Her comments came after a number of Hollywood stars led by Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith declared a boycott of the Academy Awards later this month.

Elba, who is nominated for best actor for boy soldier drama Beasts Of No Nation, has held back from publicly speaking at length about the row.

However he quipped "welcome to diverse TV" at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, whose nominees included a number of stars of colour, and the actor collected awards for his roles in the gritty war film and BBC drama Luther.

When he joins the great and good of British and Irish cinema at BBC Television Centre he will have to fight off stiff competition in the best actor category from stars including Michael Fassbender for his performance as Apple founder Steve Jobs, Mad Max: Fury Road star Tom Hardy and Rampling's co-star Sir Tom Courtenay.

The actress is nominated in the leading woman category alongside Dame Maggie Smith for The Lady In The Van, Tilda Swinton for A Bigger Splash and Kate Winslet for her perforamcne alongside Fassbender.

In the best film category 45 Years is tipped again, alongside Brooklyn, High-Rise and Olivia Coleman's film The Lobster, which is also nominated for best comedy.

Coleman and co-star Colin Farrell go head-to-head in the comedy category with Emma Thompson for her performance in The Legend Of Barney Thomson and the team behind Shakespeare film Bill - Richard Bracewell, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond.

Game Of Thrones actress Maisie Williams is nominated for the rising star award in recognition of her performance in The Falling alongside Tom Browne, the 48-year-old director of Radiator, model-turned actress Agyness Deyn and X+Y actor Jake Davies.

Friends star Matthew Perry hosts the awards to be presented by Vanessa Redgrave, Stanley Tucci and War And Peace actor Tuppence Middleton.