BAFTA today confirmed the eligibility criteria, campaigning regulations and category rules for the 2024 BAFTA Film Awards, including a special category change in directing to include directors who identify as non-binary.
Ever since BAFTA began making sweeping changes in 2020 to all aspects of its film awards and the org has seen much of the change they were striving for and in some cases, probably more than they bargained for. In 2021, BAFTA established the most sweeping overhaul of its awards in decades, including increasing membership diversity by over 1,000 after backlash of a consistent lack of diversity among its nominations. They also welcomed the return of longlists and chapter voting and established small committees (just 7-12 people) for nominations. This resulted in some shocking snubs like Olivia Colman for The Father and Carey Mulligan for Promising Young Woman, both of whom went on to be Oscar-nominated. This pushed BAFTA to add another new rule set in the acting categories (the top two vote-getters will automatically be nominated), all but ensuring snubs like this are less likely to happen in the future. But, then it happened again the next year – where even with six nominations slots BAFTA went 0/5 in comparison to the Oscar’s Best Actress category – and BAFTA introduced yet another rule targeted at the acting categories, where the top three performances in all four performance categories in Round One chapter voting will be automatically nominated.
In the directing category for this season, BAFTA is introducing non-binary inclusion where the top female, male and directors who identify as non-binary will be longlisted to a maximum of 17 (up from 16 last year), with gender parity between male and female directors upheld. In the nominating round, the number of nominated directors will remain at six, but there is no specific requirement on non-binary inclusion numbers at that level.
Films must have been available to the UK public for the first time in the UK between January 1, 2023 and
February 16, 2024. There is an exception for Films Not in The English Language (FNIEL) and Documentaries which are eligible if they have been made available to the UK public for the first time between January 1, 2023 and March 22, 2024. Note that the start of the eligibility period for the 2025 Awards will be January 1, 2024.
Films are eligible if they have been theatrically exhibited publicly for the first time to a paying audience on
at least ten commercial screens in the UK for at least seven days in aggregate (not including festival
Films which are eligible for Documentary or Film Not in the English Language have a lower screening
threshold, and may be entered for all categories if they have been exhibited publicly on at least one
commercial screen in the UK for no fewer than seven days in aggregate (not including festival screenings). These need not be at the same venue.
BAFTA Film voting members are expected to watch films in contention, to apply their expertise, and to make their voting decisions based on the single criteria of Excellence. Members are encouraged to watch films theatrically when possible (when films are on release, at film festivals, at ‘For Your Consideration’ (FYC) screenings, and so forth). To help level the playing field, all films submitted for consideration must be made available on BAFTA’s viewing platform ‘BAFTA View’.
All voters are allocated a film group with approximately 15 films to watch in Round One. These are randomly allocated, and are a range of films including documentary, films not in the English language, British, and so forth. Voting members should watch their allocated films before voting in Round One. Voters are also encouraged to watch as many films as possible in the months leading up to the Round One voting deadline, especially films in their assigned craft and/or opt-in chapter.
In Round Two, voters must watch the longlisted films prior to voting in individual categories, and in Round Three, voters must watch the nominated films prior to voting in individual categories. Full Feature Film rules and guidelines can be found here.
Reviewed annually, BAFTA’s guiding principles for its awards are to celebrate creative excellence, level the playing field, provide a fair and robust process, and encourage positive industry change.
The primary key changes are as follows:
- Detailed guidance and regulations on campaigning, hosting screenings and communicating with voters is now set out in a dedicated handbook for entrants and BAFTA members. A significant tightening of the rules around campaigning were last introduced as part of the 2020 BAFTA Review to ensure a fair and equitable process for entrants regardless of their origin, networks or marketing and PR budget. The updates for 2024 build-on and further clarify this ongoing work and can be found in full here.
- UK-based productions will be required to have a policy in place on tackling bullying and harassment if entering into the Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer categories. To support this rule change going forwards, free guidance and policy templates will be available on Creative UK in the coming weeks. This new intervention, announced in December 2022, builds on BAFTA’s long-standing work to help tackle bullying and harassment across the screen industries, and forms part of wider, ongoing collective cross-sector activity.
- UK-based productions will be required to provide information about meeting BFI’s new Diversity Standards as BAFTA’s eligibility for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut transitions from a minimum of two (Standard C + 1) to the BFI’s new diversity standards requirement to include Standard E (accessibility).
- Following BAFTA’s introduction of the BFI Diversity Standards in 2019 and Academy of Motion Picture Arts’ (AMPAS) introduction of new Inclusion Standards for its Best Picture category from 2024 onwards, BAFTA will be monitoring the film industry’s progress on diversity and inclusion internationally.
Specific category changes – Director
- BAFTA’s 2020 Review included a positive intervention for female directors submitting into the BAFTA Film Awards Director category, allowing for a 50:50 gender split for male and female directors in the longlisting stage (16 in total). This has had a very positive effect on the number of female directors nominated and winning in this category compared with the years prior to the Review. This intervention is now being evolved to include directors who identify as non-binary.
- For 2024, the top female, male and directors who identify as non-binary will be longlisted to a maximum of 17, with gender parity between male and female directors upheld. In the nominating round, the number of nominated directors will remain at six.
BAFTA View, the academy’s online viewing platform launched in 2020, is a key part of BAFTA’s mission to level the playing field by removing the previously prohibitively high cost of supplying DVDs to BAFTA’s 7,500 voting global membership. It will continue to be mandatory for all films in contention to be available on BAFTA View ahead of Round One voting. Ongoing upgrades to BAFTA View will enable the platform to offer all entrants the chance to provide films in 4K and 5.1 sound for the first time, however watching films at the cinema or via BAFTA’s in-person official screening programme will continue to be the encouraged primary method of viewing for voters.
Emma Baehr, Executive Director of Awards & Content, said: “The changes to the 2024 rules reflect BAFTA’s ongoing commitment to using our Awards to help effect meaningful cultural change in the screen industries and our continued efforts to level the playing field through equitable, transparent and robust processes. We are hugely grateful for the expertise of BAFTA’s cross-industry Film Committee and the rigour and diligence they bring to reviewing and setting these rules annually. Celebrating creative excellence continues to be at the heart of our Awards and in a challenging and uncertain time for many working in the sector, our awards recognise the craft, creativity and tireless work that goes into bringing the magic of films and their stories to life.”
First held in 1949, the BAFTA Film Awards celebrate the very best of film over the past year, and the filmmakers, cast and crews on both sides of the camera. The 2024 edition will be held in London on Sunday, February 18, 2024. A comprehensive overview of entry information including rules and eligibility requirements can be found on BAFTA’s Awards webpage here.
As previously announced the key dates are as follows:
All times are BST/GMT unless stated otherwise.