The British Academy (BAFTA) has once gain made some key changes to its awards eligibility and voting rules for next year’s film awards, specifically in the performance and director categories, after two years diverse and esoteric nominations, many that did not translate into Oscar nominations.
In 2021, BAFTA announced wide-ranging changes to its voting, membership and campaigning processes as it published the findings of its in-depth, independently verified seven-month Awards Review. The Review began as a direct response to the lack of diversity in the 2020 Film Awards nominations, but its remit soon expanded to encompass all aspects of BAFTA and its awards. The changes, which were unanimously approved by the BAFTA Board, signaled the beginning of a significant cultural shift in BAFTA and challenges the industry to address the serious lack of opportunity and equality. In all, over 120 key changes were introduced, including increasing the Best Film category to 10 nominees, the acting categories to six and bringing back the longlists and adding over 1,000 new members.
The seemingly dubious choice to have very small juries of 7-12 people, some of which didn’t even need to be BAFTA members, decide the nominations, offered more diversity in nominations but also some disparity. British films became heavily favored (as they used to be when the BAFTAs weren’t concerned about being an Oscar precursor) and the last two years saw wild but wildly exciting and different nominations than simply rubberstamping the season and being a generic precursor. Last season’s Best Actress BAFTA nominees went 0/5 with Oscar’s Best Actress, something that hadn’t happened in over 50 years. But it seems these dramatic differences didn’t sit well with BAFTA brass and they have introduces new rules and changes once again, increasing the number of nominees decided on by the acting and directing chapters, splitting evenly with the small juries.
Anna Higgs, chair of the BAFTA Film Committee, said:
“We are delighted to confirm our plans for the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2023, as we continue to shine a light on the incredible ingenuity and creativity of filmmakers, and their talented cast and crews. With an ongoing industry-wide focus on meaningful representation, our expansion of entrants’ data on diversity and inclusion will accelerate the progress BAFTA has made in driving positive change globally.
As the BAFTA Film Committee, we believe deeply in ensuring our processes are clear and transparent for voters, encouraging as many films as possible to be watched, and levelling the playing field for all. Developed in consultation with industry stakeholders and BAFTA’s global membership, updates to eligibility and voting continue to hold excellence at the heart of all we do, and we are looking forward to celebrating extraordinary British and international talent at the next Film Awards.”
The BAFTA longlists will come out on January 6, 2023 followed by the nominations on January 19, just five days before the Oscar nominations on January 24. The BAFTA ceremony will take place on February 19, 2023, nearly a full month before the Oscars on March 12.
Here are the new rules and voting procedures for the 2023 BAFTAs.
Round One voting (Longlists)
For Round One voting, which produces the new BAFTA longlists, the number of slots for films are being reduced. Best film and all craft categories will now be 10 films, rather than the previous 15 films, while Outstanding British Film will be 15 films, down from 20 films.
Best Director will be 16 films, down from 20 films, with 8 slots for female-directed films and 8 slots for male-directed titles.
What won’t change are the longlists for Outstanding Debut, British Short Film and British Short Animation categories, which will stay at 10, 10 and 6 titles, respectively.
The longlist round was first introduced in 2021. Every category in the round is voted on by a craft Chapter, opt-in chapter or jury, with the exception of best film, which is voted for by all film-voting members. Chapters are made up of a minimum of 100 BAFTA members who hold specialist knowledge in the relevant craft.
Performance and director categories
The top three performances in all four performance categories in Round One chapter voting will be automatically nominated, up from two in 2022. The remaining three places on the nominations list will come from the nominating jury, which previously chose four names. The total nominations will remain at six per category.
Elsewhere, the top two directors — regardless of gender — from the Round One chapter vote will automatically be nominated. The top five female and top five male directors will be longlisted.
The longlisting jury will select the remaining three female and three male directors to create a longlist of 16 (equal gender split). In Round Two, the nominating jury will select four directors to join the two automatically nominated in Round One, creating a nominations list of six.
Deidre Hopkins, head of film at BAFTA, explains: “There is a change because the last two years the nominating jury has selected all six [directing nominees]. Now, the directing chapter will select the top two that go through to the nominations.”
Make-up and hair
For make-up and hair, eligible candidates for nomination will remain at head of department-level, while additional candidates may be submitted – up to a strict maximum of four nominees.
Producers eligible for nomination in the best film and Outstanding British Film categories are as determined by the PGA. From 2023, the PGA will also determine eligible producers in the animated film, documentary, and film not in the English language categories. In these three categories, if the PGA has not determined the eligible producers, the maximum number of eligible producers will remain at one (along with the director), without appeal.
“We’ve always worked really closely with the PGA,” said Baehr. “We work year round on getting information from them and we have had the requirements to be PGA approved, but now it’s more allowed. Basically, they’re all approved by PGA. But it’s nothing that you can’t appeal if they haven’t had a PGA approval.”
Hopkins added: “For the three categories of documentary, animated film and film not in the English language, we considered the director and the lead key creative producer as the two candidates for nomination, but we get so many appeals every year in those three categories for additional producers. Just considering this last year, we really felt that because PGA do all of this incredible work determining producers, we should actually work with them for those three categories. So if they determine producers are eligible, we will accept that.”
There is an exception for the Outstanding British Film category, where Hopkins says BAFTA is still keen to support a British film, even if it hasn’t gone through the PGA process. “We would usually accept up to three producers as being eligible for that, and that can be appealed. So if there are more than three different [producers], we will accept appeals to consider additional producers.”
The eligibility period, during which films must be released theatrically in UK for the first time, will run from Jan. 1, 2022, to Feb. 17, 2023, for all films, except for those eligible for Documentary and Film Not in the English Language (FNIEL), which can be released up to and including March 10, 2023. Day and date releases will be eligible; however, VOD-only releases are not.
It will continue to be mandatory for all films in contention to be available on the voting members’ online viewing platform BAFTA View, with further detail on key dates on BAFTA’s website.
Diversity & Inclusion – ongoing
BAFTA has said it “studies entry data across its Awards to deepen understanding and provide insights into how the screen industries are progressing on diversity and inclusion and highlight areas of underrepresentation.” The data informs rule changes as well as other interventions and initiatives offered by BAFTA to address sector issues.
Entrants across all film categories will be encouraged to submit basic details of their Diversity Standards information. Meeting the BFI Diversity Standards will remain mandatory for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut.
Bullying & Harassment
Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut entrants will be asked for details of their company policies on bullying and harassment. This is not mandatory but is encouraged to inform future activity and is consistent across all BAFTA Awards, including TV and Games.
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