BAFTA Tightens Voting Eligibility Rules To Make Room For New Members

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is thinning its film award voting ranks so it can bulk them up again with newer, more active members. BAFTA head of membership Jim Bradshaw tells me the impetus for the weeding out process was primarily that the voting membership is capped “and we have a waiting list of people coming into the Academy who we can’t involve and that includes people who have won BAFTAs and are working at a very high level.” There are 6,500 voting members and a further 500 non-voting. A consultation period on voting eligibility began last year and new rules went into effect this week. They stipulate that in order to remain eligible to vote for the BAFTA Film Awards, a member must have worked in the industry in the last five years, or for 20 years or more. The idea is to shed folks who may have left the business after a short period. The term “worked in the industry” is quite broad, encompassing on-screen credit or “evidence of a relevant role” including as a marketer, publicist, specialized journalist, financier, script reader or unproduced screenwriter, among others. People who don’t have the appropriate credits to cast a ballot will be asked to step down from voting, but would still be able to maintain BAFTA membership. Bradshaw says the Academy has vetted many of its members independently, but has also invited others to provide more information. He says the org is “looking in the hundreds” in terms of how many voting slots will open. Not everyone is taking it badly, he contends. “Raising the issue with members has caused some people who are eligible to rethink it and give their place to others.” The allocation will take place in the fall.

  1. Why not cap the membership higher, say 7000 voters instead of 6500 and make membership harder to achieve? A lot of BAFTA members are ancient so eventually you’d get that number back down to 6500 where it could be re-capped. This sounds like a witch hunt to me.

  2. So BAFTA are going to be telling members – who had to go through a very strident application process in the first place, that “sorry, you’re no longer good enough to be a voting member of BAFTA , and so despite having accepted you on merit and taken membership dues for all those years, we’re kicking you out and humiliating you.” Oh no, that’s right. They can remain members of BAFTA, just not voting members. That way BAFTA can continue to collect membership dues.

    What a bunch of useless stuffed shirts the BAFTA board is. Disrespectful and arrogant. BAFTA members should rise up and kick Jim Bradshaw out.

    1. I am a fully qualified BAFTA member who has attended the awards in London. I value the honor of membership, and the fun and responsibility of voting.

      I am not offended by this action of the Board. BAFTA is a class organization, and its members are well treated all year long with great events, screenings and charity.

      It is such an honor to be a member that I am seriously considering giving my voting privileges to a new member within the next few years. I have contacted BAFTA to explore this.

      Being member of BAFTA is still one of the best things I have experienced in the industry, and it is not about the voting. BAFTA and ACE are about as classy as honorary organizations can be.

      And, I am proud to be a member of BAFTA and a special member of ACE whether I vote or not.

    2. Sandy – The problem is one of BAFTA’s own making but not in the way you think. Unfortunately, for a while, the acceptance system was not strident at all and a lot of unqualified people got membership.

      1. Well BAFTA/LA Member, even if that is true, BAFTA accepted them, for whatever reasons, and should not be kicking them to the kerb so harshly. It’s an awful business and BAFTA should be ashamed.

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