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Rules shakeup has stirring possibilities

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BAFTA has shaken up the rules for this year’s film awards in a bid to simplify the system and ensure a fairer outcome.

The general public likely won’t notice any difference — there are no new prizes, for example, unlike last year when the documentary award was introduced.

But behind the scenes, the voting timetable has been streamlined under time pressure from the earlier Oscar dates. The role of specialist chapters has been altered to give the whole membership a bigger say in picking the winners, and the campaign rules have been rewritten to give smaller films a better shot.

THE KEY CHANGES

  • There will now be only two rounds of voting, rather than three.

  • All members will continue to vote for the nominees and winner in best film and the four acting categories. But nominees in the other craft categories will be now chosen by specialist chapters, rather than the whole membership.

  • Winners in all the above categories will now be chosen by the whole membership, rather than the chapters.

  • Members will only be allowed to cast their winning vote in categories where they declare to have seen all five nominees.

  • In animated film, documentary, film not in the English language and British film, both the nominees and the winners will be picked by “opt-in” chapters. These consist of members who have declared a particular interest, regardless of whether they have any relevant professional experience.

  • In these four categories alone, distributors can target their campaigns exclusively at chapter members, in order to limit the cost.

  • BAFTA has extended the rules for online screening, so that distributors can use any platform. Previously, distribs only had two options: BAFTA’s own portal or iTunes.

  • The number of documentary nominees is likely to be increased from three to five, as long as BAFTA’s film committee judges there are enough entries of sufficient quality.

BAFTA FACTS

Round one voting deadline: Jan. 4

Nominations announced: Jan. 9

Round two voting deadline: Feb. 6

Awards: Feb. 10

Voting membership: 6,490, including 4,850 in the U.K., 1,480 in North America and 160 elsewhere

Chapter for film not in the English language: 2,050 members (1,640 U.K., 410 abroad)

Chapter for outstanding British film: 1,890 members (1,600 U.K., 290 abroad)

Documentary chapter: 1,230 members (960 U.K., 270 abroad)

Animated film chapter: 930 members (710 U.K., 220 abroad)

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