UPDATE, 6:10 AM: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is implementing a series of changes for 2013’s Orange British Film Awards that include shifts to the voting procedure and a longer period between nominations and the ceremony. The nominations date has been set for Jan 9, six days ahead of the Oscar nominations on Jan 15, 2013. The awards ceremony is set for Feb 10. Meanwhile, uninformed members are being encouraged not to vote for voting’s sake and a formal discussion has been opened on what to do about voting members who are no longer active in the industry.
Going forward, voting rounds for Britain’s equivalent to the Oscar will be reduced from three to two. BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry tells Deadline the idea of eliminating a round of voting has been around for a while but sped up last year when a change of date for the Oscars became a possibility. That move didn’t happen, but Berry says there was a “sense that a change was being discussed and when there’s a discussion, it can go either way.” The Oscars did move their nominations up by a week, which meant they’d have come the same day BAFTA traditionally announces, so BAFTA moved its date, too.
The date move will give members more time to vote, especially now that a round has been eliminated. Up until now, members voted in all categories (except Documentary, Film Not in the English Language and Outstanding British Film) with a longlist then compiled reflecting the 15 top choices in each category. That list was usually unveiled in early January. On it, choices put forth by the voting chapters (branches) were flagged and those more often than not ended up being the ones that made it further down the line. About a week later, round two of the voting resulted in the official nominees and round three resulted in the winners.
Now, the first round of voting will directly result in nominees. All members will continue to vote for nominees and winners in the Best Film and top four acting categories. However, in the director, adapted and original screenplay, cinematography, costume design, editing, make-up & hair, original music, production design, sound and visual effects categories, members of those chapters will decide the nominees and vote for the winner, much like the Oscars.
In another significant change, if members of other chapters feel they have a particular expertise elsewhere, they will be able to “opt in” to any of the folllowing categories: feature animation, documentary, foreign film and top British film. Berry says BAFTA will monitor but not restrict opt-ins, “We have to trust our membership that the right people are opting in… Voting is onerous so when they take on these responsibilities they know what a responsibility it is.”
BAFTA also plans to encourage members to abstain from voting if they don’t feel qualified. “We want to have the most informed membership we can possibly have,” Berry tells me, “so if a member says ‘I’ve been away for 9 months this year’ and calls up and says they don’t feel informed and wants to abstain, of course we’d say yes.” BAFTA has always allowed members to abstain but has never actively encouraged it before.
Separate from all of the changes above, BAFTA is also entering a consultation period on membership that could result in some Academy folks losing their voting privileges. The idea, according to Berry, is that if members haven’t worked “in a significant role” for the last five years, they’ll be renewed as associate members but not as a full voting member. The plan isn’t to punish inactive members, it’s because, “In many ways, we’re very lucky and we have very little churn, but we have so many people who want to be able to vote and who we can’t accept as full voting members,” Berry tells me. She points out that if someone’s had a long career and made a big contribution to cinema but ultimately changed jobs, BAFTA would still allow them to vote. The potential new rules are aimed more so at people who have left the industry and “haven’t had that significant a career,” Berry explains. The voting membership of BAFTA is currently 6500 with another 500 non-voting members.
PREVIOUS, 5:02 AM: A series of changes are afoot at The British Academy of Film and Television Arts including shifts to the voting procedure, a longer period between nominations and the Orange British Film Awards ceremony and potential tweaks to the membership. The nominations date has also been set for Jan 9, six days ahead of the Oscar nominations on Jan 15, 2013. Developing…
London, 26 June 2012: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts today announced changes to the voting procedure for the Orange British Academy Film Awards.
Following extensive discussion, consideration and research over several years, the Film Committee has confirmed a move from a three-round voting system to a two-round system. This will be implemented in time for the 2012/13 voting period.
As per previous years, members will vote for both the nominations and the winner in the Best Film category and the four performance categories. Members will have the opportunity to opt in to chapters to vote for the nominees and winner in Animation, Documentary, Film Not in the English Language, and Outstanding British Film.
Individual chapters will now decide the nominees and members will vote for the winner in Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design, Director, Editing, Make-Up & Hair, Original Music, Production Design, Sound, and Special Visual Effects.
Voting procedures remain unchanged for Outstanding Debut by a Writer, Director or Producer in their First Feature Film, Short Film, and Short Animation categories: a jury will decide both the nominations and winner for Outstanding Debut; the Short Film and Short Animination nominations will also be decided by a jury, and the winners decided by an opt-in chapter.
Nik Powell, Chair of BAFTA’s Film Committee said:
“For several years, the question of whether the Academy should move from our three-round voting system to a two-round system has been on the Film Committee’s agenda. After much research and debate, the Film Committee has elected to implement a two-round system for the 2012/13 Orange British Academy Film Awards.
“This decision was taken due to the simplicity and clarity of a two-round system, not to mention its potential to involve members more. These changes capitalise on the strength and expertise of the Academy’s chapter voting system, which was first introduced in 2004/05.”
The Orange British Academy Film Awards will be held on 10 February 2013.