BAFTAs 2020: Graham Norton jokes about 'white male privilege'

Graham Norton came under fire during Sunday night's the 73rd annual EE British Academy Film Awards at London's Royal Albert Hall, when his tongue-in-cheek opening speech fell flat with the audience and viewers at home. 

Film fans branded the Irish presenter, who took over from Joanna Lumley, as 'awful' and 'embarrassing' as he mocked the Joker's 11 nominations and tried to make light of 'white male privilege', which viewers insisted 'went down like a lead balloon'.  

The 56-year-old's opening monologue also had fans claiming online that he was 'dying on his feet' and his 'jokes are falling flat as day-old lemonade'. 

Beginning his speech, the BBC presenter took aim at the critically panned Cats and 's The Irishman as he welcomed the A-list attendees to the ceremony. 

He began: 'I'm Graham Norton, your host for this evening, which means there's more than one Irishman here tonight that seems to go on and on. 

'Now, I should add, don't be too concerned tonight because you are in safe hands.

Adding: 'I'm not going to be mean to anyone, because you might know in my other job I'm a chat show host, which means apparently I have never seen a film I didn't really enjoy.

Host: Graham Norton came under fire during Sunday night's the 73rd annual EE British Academy Film Awards at London's Royal Albert Hall , when his tongue-in-cheek opening speech fell flat with the audience and viewers at home

Host: Graham Norton came under fire during Sunday night's the 73rd annual EE British Academy Film Awards at London's Royal Albert Hall , when his tongue-in-cheek opening speech fell flat with the audience and viewers at home

Awkward: Film fans branded the Irish presenter, who took over from Joanna Lumley, as 'awful' and 'embarrassing' as he mocked the Joker's 11 nominations and tried to make light of 'white male privilege' (Joker star Joaquin Phoenix pictured)

Awkward: Film fans branded the Irish presenter, who took over from Joanna Lumley, as 'awful' and 'embarrassing' as he mocked the Joker's 11 nominations and tried to make light of 'white male privilege' (Joker star Joaquin Phoenix pictured) 

'It's true. I loved Cats. No, I did. Not even joking. It was brilliant. Cats, but with hands. So clever. I loved it.'

Graham attempted to make light of 'white male privilege', joking that this will be the year that 'white men finally broke though'. 

 '2019... hey, what a year in film. I think it will be remembered as the year that white men finally broke though,' he said. 'Yeah, they did it, what am I talking about, we did it!'

The camera then panned onto several grimacing faces as they awkwardly laughed, including Bradley Cooper. 

He added: 'You can sort of see why there's 11 nominations for Joker, which is essentially the story of a white man who makes himself even whiter.' (Phoenix pictured as the Joker in film still)

He added: 'You can sort of see why there's 11 nominations for Joker, which is essentially the story of a white man who makes himself even whiter.' (Phoenix pictured as the Joker in film still)  

'Awkward': The 56-year-old's opening monologue also had fans claiming online that he was 'dying on his feet' and his 'jokes are falling flat as day-old lemonade'

'Awkward': The 56-year-old's opening monologue also had fans claiming online that he was 'dying on his feet' and his 'jokes are falling flat as day-old lemonade'

The BBC presenter went on to mock the Joker's 11 nominations, he continued: 'Yes, a bit of chat about the old white male privilege. 

'You can sort of see why there's 11 nominations for Joker, which is essentially the story of a white man who makes himself even whiter.'

The star went on to poke fun at the BAFTAs eco-friendly statement this year, after the ceremony encouraged guests to wear sustainable choices and they cut back on goodie bags with a gifting wallet. 

Graham continued: 'A huge thank you must be made to our American friends for making the effort to come here tonight. You know it takes ages to sail across the Atlantic doesn’t it. 

'You did, didn’t you? Thank you for caring. It is the eco awards ladies and gentlemen. 

'This year Bafta have asked us to make sustainable choices, old clothes, now I have. I really have. Fun fact. This jacket is older than Florence Pugh. I’m not even joking.' 

Eek: The camera then panned onto several grimacing faces as they awkwardly laughed, including Bradley Cooper

Eek: The camera then panned onto several grimacing faces as they awkwardly laughed, including Bradley Cooper 

Graham Norton's BAFTA Opening Monologue gags 

The Irishman: 'I'm Graham Norton, your host for this evening, which means there's more than one Irishman here tonight that seems to go on and on. 

Cats: 'It's true. I loved Cats. No, I did. Not even joking. It was brilliant. Cats, but with hands. So clever. I loved it.'

On 'white male privilege': '2019... hey, what a year in film. I think it will be remembered as the year that white men finally broke though. Yeah, they did it, what am I talking about, we did it!'  

The Joker: 'Yes, a bit of chat about the old white male privilege. You can sort of see why there's 11 nominations for Joker, which is essentially the story of a white man who makes himself even whiter.'

Jojo Rabbit: 'The wonderful Jojo Rabbit is nominated. A child and a cartoonish monster - it's like when Greta Thunberg met !'

Once Upon a Time in : 'How good was Once Upon a Time in ? It takes a nostalgic look back at 50 years ago, what we saw was a misogynistic male industry resistant to change...'

Mocking A-listers for flying: 'A huge thank you must be made to our American friends for making the effort to come here tonight. You know it takes ages to sail across the Atlantic doesn’t it. You did, didn’t you? Thank you for caring. It is the eco awards ladies and gentlemen.'

He also mocked Jojo Rabbit's nomination, he said: 'The wonderful Jojo Rabbit is nominated. A child and a cartoonish monster - it's like when Greta Thunberg met !'

Also throwing Once Upon a Time in into the mix, Graham added: 'How good was Once Upon a Time in ?

'It takes a nostalgic look back at 50 years ago, what we saw was a misogynistic male industry resistant to change...'

Following his opening monologue, fans were left cringing over Graham's jokes, insisting they had had 'more laughs at a funeral'.

One penned: 'I don’t find Graham Norton funny and neither do the any of the audience at the Royal Albert Hall'.

Cringe: Following his opening monologue, fans were left cringing over Graham's jokes, insisting they had had 'more laughs at a funeral'

Cringe: Following his opening monologue, fans were left cringing over Graham's jokes, insisting they had had 'more laughs at a funeral'

'Norton is dying on his feet. Embarrassing,' another wrote. 'Graham Norton’s jokes are falling flat as day-old lemonade'.

A fourth shared: 'Graham Norton really isn't funny is he'. 

Another asked: '@rickygervais can you do the #BAFTAs next year please? Graham Norton is awful. I've had more laugh at a funeral'. 

While some viewers accused him of trying to copy ' 2020 Golden Globes opening speech where he made jokes about 'woke'

One person said: 'Graham Norton trying his best at doing a @rickygervais on the #BAFTAs it's just not working.' 

Divided: However, fans were left divided over Graham's hosting as some viewers accused him of trying to copy Ricky Gervais' 2020 Golden Globes opening speech (pictured) where he made jokes about 'woke' Hollywood

Divided: However, fans were left divided over Graham's hosting as some viewers accused him of trying to copy ' 2020 Golden Globes opening speech (pictured) where he made jokes about 'woke'  

Opinions: Many took to Twitter to share their opinions about Graham's hosting

Opinions: Many took to Twitter to share their opinions about Graham's hosting

A different user put: 'I love Graham Norton but he's dying on his a**e despite his best efforts. #BAFTAs.' 

Another fan commented: 'Graham love, you’re not Ricky. You’re funnier when you’re not trying so hard. #BAFTAs.'

While a different account added: 'Graham Norton's script...not exactly got the edge of ' has it? #BAFTA2020 #Painful #BAFTAs.'   

During Sunday's show, it also made a tongue-in-cheek reference to Laurence Fox's recent controversy.

In a sketch featuring People Just Do Nothing star Asim Chaudry and 1917 director Sam Mendes, the comic asked the filmmaker to call his 'agent' Laurence if he 'ever needs a brown actor in one of his war films.'

Outrageous: During Sunday's show, it also made a tongue-in-cheek reference to Laurence Fox's recent controversy

Outrageous: During Sunday's show, it also made a tongue-in-cheek reference to Laurence Fox's recent controversy

Cheeky: In a sketch featuring People Just Do Nothing star Asim Chaudry and 1917 director Sam Mendes, the comic asked the filmmaker to call his 'agent' Laurence if he 'ever needs a brown actor in one of his war films'

Cheeky: In a sketch featuring People Just Do Nothing star Asim Chaudry and 1917 director Sam Mendes, the comic asked the filmmaker to call his 'agent' Laurence if he 'ever needs a brown actor in one of his war films'

It comes after Laurence was forced to apologise the Sikh community after he sparked a race row by claiming the inclusion of a turban-wearing soldier in 1917 was 'incongruous', but went onto insist he 'stands by everything he said.'

At the star of the show, Asim appeared to be 'auditioning' stars to play the so-called Voice Of God in the ceremony with director Sam one of the main contenders.

The funnyman seemed unimpressed with Sam's attempt at narration, but suggested: 'If you do need anymore brown guys for your war films contact my agent, it's Laurence Fox.' 

Also during Sunday's ceremony, Joaquin Phoenix, who won the Leading Actor gong for Joker, condemned the industry's 'systemic racism' in a hard-hitting acceptance speech.

He said: 'I feel very honoured and privileged to be here tonight, BAFTA has always been very supportive of my career and I’m deeply appreciative. 

Speaking out: Also during Sunday's ceremony, Joaquin Phoenix, who won the Leading Actor gong for Joker, condemned the industry's 'systemic racism' in a hard-hitting acceptance speech

Speaking out: Also during Sunday's ceremony, Joaquin Phoenix, who won the Leading Actor gong for Joker, condemned the industry's 'systemic racism' in a hard-hitting acceptance speech

'But I have to say that I also feel conflicted, because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege.

'I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here. I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry in ways that we benefit from.'

Joaquin admitted he could do more to ensure the films he works on are 'inclusive' and urged the audience to do the same, he continued: 'This is not a self-righteous condemnation because I’m ashamed to say I’m part of the problem. 

'I have not done everything in my power to ensure the sets that I work on are inclusive, but I think that it’s more than just having sets that are multicultural. 

'I think that we have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. I think that it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it. So that’s on us. Thank you.'

Meanwhile Brad Pitt, who won the Supporting Actor gong for his role as Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in , was unable to attend the event due to 'family obligations'.

However, the actor, 56, did send a tongue-in-cheek acceptance speech which was read out by co-star Margot Robbie, who had been

read more from dailymail.....

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

PREV Viewers in stitches over MAFS bride Poppy Jennings' hilarious one-liners 
NEXT Love Island CONFIRMS the return of Casa Amor