The BAFTAs had a challenging year in 2021, ricocheting among progress, stasis and scandal, and ending up somewhere in the middle. Their mission, following an outcry over the previous year’s white ceremony — with no acting nominees of color, no women up for the director prize, and Sam Mendes’ “1917” prevailing over Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” in the major races — was to diversify the awards, and fast. This year’s film ceremony is set for March 13 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

To that end, drastic changes were made, with the performance and directing categories handed over to small nomination committees (including some nonBAFTA members) who could curate more eclectic, progressive nominee fields from the branchvoted longlists. The fix was immediately effective, as BAFTA revealed a fresh, surprising and suitably diverse slate. Suddenly, two-thirds of the acting nominees were performers of color, including homegrown talents — Wunmi Mosaku and Bukky Bakray — who were far outside the Oscar conversation that BAFTA traditionally mirrors, while buzzy favorites such as Carey Mulligan and Olivia Colman were left out. For the first time, women made up the majority of the director field, while only one white man (the distinctly non-Hollywood Thomas Vinterberg) made the cut. It was an exciting shake-up and a bold statement from an awards body that, since shifting its place in the calendar to become an Oscar precursor in 2001, had somewhat lost its individual identity.

Outside the jurisdiction of the nominating committees, of course, things were less adventurous. The best film slate, voted on by all BAFTA members, was respectable but hardly radical, while the winners, who happily included wins for POC artists like Chloé Zhao, Youn Yuh-jung and Daniel Kaluuya, matched the Academy’s eventual choices in all above-the-line categories, even foreshadowing Anthony Hopkins’ upset win for lead actor. Meanwhile, what progress BAFTA had made with its competitive awards was soured by the debacle over that year’s honorary award for contribution to British cinema.

Having selected actor-filmmaker Noel Clarke for the honor — a choice the media initially welcomed as youthful and inclusive — BAFTA brass were immediately presented with allegations from multiple industry sources of bullying and sexual harassment on Clarke’s part.

This year’s BAFTAs thus face the tricky task of consolidating last year’s advances while washing away any lingering embarrassment. The stopgap solution to the Clarke scandal, at least, has been to scrap any honorary awards for this year, as organizers review their selection processes and aim to incorporate the wider membership’s input into such decisions. As for the competitive awards, the selection committees this year yielded somewhat less diverse results — notably, the number of performers of color nominated in the acting races has dropped from 16 to seven — with a more mainstream slant.

That could be down to a tweak from last year’s voting system. In 2021, the selection committee for the performance and directing categories was tasked with selecting all six nominees in each field. This year, its input was limited to four, with the last two slots reserved for the top two vote-getters from branch-wide longlist balloting.

If this system feels less tidy and more compromised, it nonetheless allows BAFTA members to feel more involved in each stage of the process, while the results still saw them taking a different path from other awards-season precursors. Nowhere is that more striking than in the Best Actress race — where, for the first time since the BAFTAs became part of Oscar season, they chose a wholly different field from the American Academy, with no common names between them. Most surprisingly, “The Lost Daughter” star Colman — who has a shelfload of TV BAFTAs, but has only ever been nominated on the film side for “The Favourite” — was once more left out in the cold, signaling the committees’ continued determination to avoid playing industry favorites.

That has left awards pundits wondering if long-serving British character actor Joanna Scanlan could emerge as the dark horse for her powerful turn as a white Muslim convert uncovering her late husband’s double life in the humble British indie “After Love.” That film — an auspicious debut for British Pakistani writer-director Aleem Khan — is a useful case study with regard to BAFTA’s strangely inconsistent response to its own local success stories. Celebrated by critics upon its local release last June, the film swept the British Independent Film Awards — the U.K.’s answer to the Spirit Awards — in December, and was clearly a hit with BAFTA’s nominating committees, scoring four nominations in categories where they have input.

Among those was a left-field nom for Khan in director, where the diversity of last year’s lineup has been maintained: with Khan joining Jane Campion, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Julia Ducournau and Audrey Diwan, that again leaves room for only one white male nominee, “Licorice Pizza’s” Paul Thomas Anderson.

But it’s telling that “After Love” is nowhere to be seen in the non-juried lineups for writing, craft and best film, where general BAFTA voters seem to have less interest in supporting their own. International cinema also took a hit this year as BAFTA rallied around Hollywood product such as “Dune” and “Don’t Look Up,” both up for best film at the expense of sleeper “Drive My Car.” Meanwhile, the only British film to make a dent in the otherwise American-ruled best film lineup is Kenneth Branagh’s homey nostalgia piece “Belfast,” with scored six nominations overall, and following a strong showing at the local box office, is seen as neck-andneck with presumed front-runner “The Power of the Dog.” Should “Belfast” prevail, it’ll follow other recent British-produced best film winners including “1917” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” in proving that BAFTA feels comfortable waving their flag only when their enthusiasm is echoed across the pond. As it is, this year’s nominations reflect a British Academy still in flux, torn between influencer status and individualism.

Things get a whole lot more interesting when voters choose the latter.