Why Do We (Or Don’t We) Care About The BAFTAs?

Friday, February 10 by
The BAFTA's actual awards have the distinction of being the most terrifying.  

It’s Hollywood’s hallowed awards season. And aside from the Oscars and maybe the Golden Globes, the distinctions between the awards offered can be murky at best. You may or may not know that BAFTA stands for “British Academy of Film and Television Arts.” So it’s British, but that’s about all the layperson would know. So, why should they care?

The awards are often considered a decent prognistication of the Oscar outcomes, but honestly, what award ISN’T considered an indicator of Oscar buzz? Let’s take a closer look at the BAFTAs so that you can determine if they’re worth your time and energy.

(Spoiler alert: Unless you’re nominated or a film critic, a walk around the neighborhood might serve you better than tuning into this guy’s ceremony)

What are the BAFTAs?:

The BAFTAs are the annual awards given out by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. While the academy represents both film and television, as the name states, the award ceremonies are delineated so that fans of cinema the world over aren’t subjected to watching a sweep by whatever national program Brits were watching before Downton Abbey.

The Academy has 6,000 or so professionals in the industries of film, television, and, recently, video games. This is important because, unlike the Oscars, which are voted on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists, the BAFTAs are voted on by video game and television professionals as well, which makes them a little less “insder-y” if you want to be diplomatic, and a little less “up their own butt” if you don’t.

They take place at Royal Albert Hall in London in mid-February, always before the Oscars and always after the Golden Globes.

How They’re Judged:

Lucky for you, this is where it gets kind of complicated. What’s that? You didn’t want to spend your weekend studying how the BAFTA Award winners are determined? Tough shit. This is happening.

Around 250 films get entered in all for the various categories. Every Academy member can vote up to 12 times (!) in every category. From there, the 15 with the highest vote totals form the shortlist for each category. Then, each Academy member can vote 5 times for the nominees, creating a shorter shortlist of 5 films per category. From THERE, all Academy members can only vote in the following categories:

Best Film
Leading Actress
Leading Actor
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actor
Film Not in the English Language
Outstanding British Film
Documentary

All of the other categories, like editing and sound, are voted on only by members specific to that field. Of course, to complicate matters, this flow chart (taken from BAFTA’s website) states that there are only 6 universal categories (with the actor and actress categories having two awards each for lead and supporting performances) on which everyone can vote.

Ok. This means that you don’t have some 80 year-old woman who was a child star in the 1940’s voting on Best Sound and Best Visual Effects. That seems to be an edge the BAFTAs have over the Oscars in terms of “accuracy.” However, considering the Oscars are still the alpha dog come awards season, how much does being the rightful winner if someone else gets the biggest award? Probably not much.

What Do They Matter?:

That said, since the BAFTA nominations and awards both precede the Oscars, it’s thought that, more and more, the BAFTAs are influencing Oscar voters, namely by suggesting British films for Oscar nomination that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. So, thanks for that, BAFTAs. They have served as a decent predictor since they moved in between the Golden Globes and Oscars in 2001. Of course, some of the correlation could just be due to the fact that the two academies share some members, who ostensibly vote for the same films for each award.

So, if you find your Sunday night lacking, and wouldn’t mind taking a gander at one of the myriad “Oscars Jr.” ceremonies, tune in to BBC1 at 9 PM British time to watch the Oscars’ last dress rehearsal!

Here is a list of the nominees. Do with it what you will.

Best Film

The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
The Help
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Film Not in the English Language
Incendies
Pina
Potiche
A Separation
The Skin I Live In

Outstanding British Film
My Week with Marilyn
Senna
Shame
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
We Need to Talk About Kevin

Director
The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius
Drive – Nicolas Winding Refn
Hugo – Martin Scorsese
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Tomas Alfredson
We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lynne Ramsay

Original Screenplay
The Artist
Bridesmaids
The Guard
The Iron Lady
Midnight in Paris

Adapted Screenplay
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March
Moneyball
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Cinematography
The Artist
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
War Horse

Editing
The Artist
Drive
Hugo
Senna
Tinker Tailor Solider Spy

Production Design
The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Hugo
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
War Horse

Make Up & Hair
The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Hugo
The Iron Lady
My Week with Marilyn

Costume Design
The Artist
Hugo
Jane Eyre
My Week with Marilyn
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Special Visual Effects
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Hugo
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
War Horse

Documentary
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Project Nim
Senna

Sound
The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Hugo
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
War Horse

Original Music
The Artist
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Animated Film
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Arthur Christmas
Rango

Leading Actor
Brad Pitt (Billy Beane) – Moneyball
Gary Oldman (George Smiley) – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
George Clooney (Matt King) – The Descendants
Jean Dujardin (George Valentin) – The Artist
Michael Fassbender (Brandon) – Shame

Leading Actress
Bérénice Bejo (Peppy Miller) – The Artist
Meryl Streep (Margaret Thatcher) – The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams (Marilyn Monroe) – My Week with Marilyn
Tilda Swinton (Eva) – We Need to Talk About Kevin
Viola Davis (Aibileen Clark) – The Help

Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer (Hal) – Beginners
Jim Broadbent (Denis Thatcher) – The Iron Lady
Jonah Hill (Peter Brand) – Moneyball
Kenneth Branagh (Sir Laurence Olivier) – My Week with Marilyn
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Paul Zara) – The Ides of March

Supporting Actress
Carey Mulligan (Irene) – Drive
Jessica Chastain (Celia Foote) – The Help
Judi Dench (Dame Sybil Thorndike) – My Week with Marilyn
Melissa McCarthy (Megan) – Bridesmaids
Octavia Spencer (Minny Jackson) – The Help

 

OH! And if you’ve made it this far, you deserve a little Easter egg. Miss Piggy is the BAFTAs red carpet host. Which is pretty neat.

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