As BAFTA prepares for its first Film Awards since concluding its sweeping variety evaluate final fall, the group is rolling out “acutely aware voter” coaching forward of its first spherical of voting.
Voting in spherical 1 begins Jan. 12 and closes Jan. 26, and will likely be adopted by an inaugural longlist of all classes set to be revealed Feb. 4. The initiative kinds a part of a concerted drive in direction of a extra clear awards season.
BAFTA unveiled the outcomes of its variety evaluate in September to encouragement from the trade, which welcomed lots of the 120-plus modifications. Amongst them was the aforementioned longlisting spherical throughout all classes that goals to degree the taking part in area in performing and directing, specifically; an enlargement of the excellent British movie class to 10 nominations; and the introduction of 1,000 new members from underrepresented teams.
BAFTA has acquired 258 movie entries this yr — simply just below the 269 entries in 2020, which was a file yr. Chair Krishnendu Majumdar calls the quantity of entries “actually optimistic” given many within the trade speculated a “massive drop-off” attributable to COVID-19. Total, entries have been on an upward trajectory within the final 4 years: in 2019, the Academy acquired 231 entries, which was a pleasant increase from 218 in 2018.
This yr, movies that acquired theatrical releases or meant to display theatrically however whose plans have been scuppered by the pandemic, all certified for awards consideration. Movies that had streaming releases with a significant streamer additionally certified.
“We’ve been versatile with the dates as a result of we’ve gone from lockdown to cinemas being open, to lockdown, to cinemas opening once more, to lockdown,” says Film Committee chair Marc Samuelson of the U.Ok.’s third nationwide lockdown in below a yr.
“Distributors have had to deal with that. There have been plans that then needed to change. However, primarily, what we’ve got qualifying are movies that might have certified in a traditional yr.”
This week, three brief “acutely aware voter” movies will roll out, geared toward educating members about illustration on display, and reminding them of the context surrounding the movies they’re screening. The movies — which can be found to observe as soon as voting has begun — have been made in session with variety and inclusion skilled Huma Qazi, and have senior BAFTA members together with Duncan Kenworthy, Lennie James, Jo Hartley and Gemma Arterton.
“We’re making an attempt to get folks to suppose extra consciously about voting. To have folks like Duncan Kenworthy saying that everybody’s particular person vote is necessary, and to try to be free of out of doors influences [goes a long way],” says Majumdar, who highlights that awards season protection within the commerce press and high contenders lists could be distracting to voters.
This yr, members are additionally required to observe 15 randomly chosen movies with a purpose to vote in spherical 1 — a directive the chair says “has gone down rather well.”
“Persons are saying they’re watching issues they haven’t executed earlier than,” he notes. “This manner, every movie ought to be watched no less than 350-400 occasions when you work out the numbers, which is wonderful as a result of the entire level of the evaluate was to degree the taking part in area and ensure extra work is watched, judged and evaluated.”
The org has up to now had 80,000 streams on BAFTA View, the inner platform utilized by members to display movies —4 occasions greater than final yr’s engagement.
Whereas there have been hopes the BAFTA Film Awards might happen as a bodily occasion in April, the jury’s nonetheless out on how they’ll materialize.
“We’re working by means of numerous eventualities,” says Samuelson, who notes that “all eventualities” can be found, “from a fairly massive in-person occasion as a result of [the situation improves], all the best way all the way down to a smaller in-person occasion, all the best way all the way down to an occasion that doesn’t have any viewers. We’re persevering with to plan for all eventualities and fascinated with it.”
The U.Ok. is below lockdown and is anticipated to stay so till no less than March. England chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty mentioned on Monday that the “worst weeks of the pandemic” are forward earlier than COVID-19 ranges enhance.
BAFTA, in fact, isn’t any stranger to hybrid occasions in pandemic occasions, given the success of the Craft and TV Awards final summer time, each of which broadcast from a closed studio with winners accepting awards just about.
Key dates for 2021 BAFTA Film Awards:
Tuesday, Jan. 12 — Spherical One voting opens at 10:00
Monday, Jan. 25 — Deadline for entrants to withdraw movies
Tuesday, Jan. 26 — Spherical One voting closes at 18:00 / Deadline for SVFX reels
Thursday, Feb. 4 — Longlists announcement
Friday, Feb. 19 — Spherical Two voting opens at 10:00
Monday, March 1 — Spherical Two voting closes
Tuesday, March 9 — Nominations announcement
Thursday, March 25 — Spherical Three voting opens at 10:00
Wednesday, April 7 — Spherical Three voting closes at 18:00
Friday, April 9 — Entered movies to have been screened to the general public by this date (besides for Movies Not In The English Language (FNIEL) and Documentaries, which have to be screened to the general public by Friday, April 30)
Sunday, April 11 — EE British Academy Film Awards