Blue ribbon meaning: what do blue ribbons at the Bafta film awards 2023 mean - is it for cancer awareness?

Famous faces were invited to wear the ribbons as an ‘emblem of compassion and solidarity’

Last night’s Bafta film awards was another star-studded event, celebrating the best in film from the previous 12 months, and of course delivering us some truly stunning red carpet looks.

In terms of the films on show themselves, it was a record-breaking night, as All Quiet On The Western Front broke Cinema Paradiso’s record for the highest number of Bafta award wins for a foreign language film.

But one thing many people tuning in to the event will have noticed is that many of the stars in attendance adorned their carefully curated outfits with a blue ribbon. Cate Blanchett, Michelle Yeoh, Colin Farrell, Daryl McCormack, Paul Mescal, Bill Nighy, and Angela Bassett were among the stars wearing one on the red carpet ahead of the awards ceremony.

Ribbons like these are often used to draw awareness towards certain issues, but what did this particular blue number represent? Here is everything you need to know.

What did the blue ribbons mean?

(Photos: Getty Images)
(Photos: Getty Images)
(Photos: Getty Images)

The ribbons were seen at the Bafta film awards as the blue #WithRefugees ribbon initiative was launched by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) on Sunday 19 February, with the intention to send a “powerful visual message that everyone has the right to seek safety, whoever, wherever, whenever”.

The blue ribbons were worn by celebrities and stars to show their solidarity and support for refugees and displaced people around the world, after the UNHCR invited famous faces to wear the ribbon as an “emblem of compassion and solidarity” for those who have been forced to flee their homes because of war, conflict and persecution.

Speaking on the red carpet about why she wanted to wear the ribbon, supporting actress nominee Jamie Lee Curtis said: “My friend Cate Blanchett is asking people to remind us all in the midst of all the season of shiny things that of course there are terrible refugee crises going on all over the world everywhere all at once and we need to do our part.”

Blanchett is a goodwill ambassador for the UNHCR as well as actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini. The Swimmers, based on the true story of Mardini and her sister Sara with central themes of displacement, separation and loss, was nominated for the outstanding British film award.

The wearing of the blue ribbons at the Bafta film awards comes after the recent earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria killed an estimated 44,000 while countless have been displaced. The UNHCR said that there are more than 103 million forcibly displaced people around the world.