British Academy of Film and Television Arts / BAFTA Film Awards
British Academy of Film and Television Arts
The Academy's Mission
BAFTA is the leading independent charity supporting, developing and promoting the art forms of the moving image - from Film and Television to Video Games and Interactive Media.
BAFTA is the leading independent charity supporting, developing and promoting the art forms of the moving image - from Film and Television to Video Games and Interactive Media.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public.
With an expert industry membership of nearly 6500 individuals, globally, we focus attention on the highest achievements of films, video games and television programs shown in the UK each year in order to motivate and inspire those who make them, and to educate and develop the taste of those who watch them.
The promotion of excellence extends far beyond our Awards ceremonies. As a charitable organization, the Academy plays an equally powerful role at our headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, across our nations and regions, in cinemas, schools and communities in the UK and US.
Giving our members, the industry and the public the opportunity to learn first-hand from leading practitioners is one of the key services the Academy provides. By showcasing the crafts of film, television and video games production, we provide a forum for knowledge to be shared across disciplines, which in turn stimulates higher standards across the board.
In its mission to support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, the Academy is extending its reach both nationally and internationally.
The Academy promotes creativity and rewards excellence around the world. In addition to our UK headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, we have established Nations & Regions offices at BAFTA Wales and BAFTA Scotland alongside events across England. We also have two affiliates in the United States - BAFTA/LA and BAFTA East Coast. The nations, regions and affiliates organize a regular program of events, screenings and, in some cases, Award ceremonies.
In 2005, we began working with a number of English Screen Agencies in order to bring our activity to a broader and more diverse audience. The Academy's collaboration with the English Screen Agencies, known as BAFTA in the Regions offers a regional presence to the BAFTA members throughout England, and expands its reach. It also allows the Academy to engage with the general public, as well as a wider industry audience, and to explore the best way of promoting both emerging and established talent.
BAFTA Cymru Official Website
The BAFTA Cymru Award ceremony is held annually and celebrates the excellence and diversity of film, television and new media programs being made in both the Welsh and English languages, with Awards presented in over 30 craft, performance and production categories.
BAFTA Scotland Official Website
BAFTA Scotland makes a significant contribution to the promotion of the country's industries of film, television and interactive media. Following six successful years of highlighting new talent, in 2004 BAFTA Scotland returned to a major annual event that rewards excellence in all aspects of Scotland's thriving screen industry.
BAFTA LA Official Website
BAFTA/LA the oldest established affiliate was founded in 1987. It aims to promote, maintain, improve and advance original and creative work amongst those employed in our industries, and who have a close association with the UK industry. Several screenings are held each month in Los Angeles, many followed by Q&A sessions, along with a number of high-profile events such as the annual Britannia Awards.
BAFTA East Coast Official Website
BAFTA East Coast is a slightly younger and still growing affiliate. Building on its year round program of screenings and events, the organization collaborates with other New York-based industry groups such as NYWIFT, Stellar Network, NTA and The International Television Academy.
Organization and Structure
Find out more about the structure of BAFTA, our support of industry bodies and the Academy's gifts for charity.
The BAFTA Group
The BAFTA Group is comprised of two charitable organizations, one trading company and, since 2007, an independent production company.
British Academy of Film and Television Arts
BAFTA is a charity with principal objects to promote and advance education through its events and to cultivate and improve public taste in the film, television and games industries. Its principal activities are the staging of UK and international awards ceremonies, special tribute evenings and an ever-expanding events and education program. BAFTA has approximately 6,500 members worldwide.
The David Lean BAFTA Foundation
DLBF is a charity that was originally set-up to receive the donation of royalties from HM The Queen which enabled BAFTA to move into its headquarters at 195 Piccadilly. As such, DLBF is the leaseholder of 195 Piccadilly and also presides over assets gifted for BAFTA's benefit by David Lean. DLBF has similar objects to BAFTA.
BAFTA Management Limited
BML is BAFTA's trading company whose purpose is to exploit the commercial opportunities arising from the charity's brand and status. BML employs the Academy's staff and its main activities are individual and corporate membership services, hire and running of 195 Piccadilly, publishing and management of corporate relations.
BAFTA Productions Ltd
BPL is an independent production company responsible for broadcast and internet programming to support BAFTA's charitable objectives. This includes the Academy's award ceremonies and events, plus interviews, documentaries and features about film, television and video games. BPL is a member of PACT, and profits are returned to BAFTA.
BAFTA is committed to promoting and supporting diversity across the industry sectors it represents.
BAFTA is a member of the Cultural Diversity Network, made up of all the major broadcasters in the UK, as well as BAFTA, Skillset and PACT. It seeks to provide a platform for collective action on the key issues of diversity in the media, enabling member organizations to communicate with one another and challenge each other to do better, to be more imaginative and to ensure the needs of our multicultural audiences are met.
BAFTA is also a signatory to the Equalities Charter for Film, a forum of businesses, guilds, unions and trade associations led by the UK Film Council committed to using their influence to create a socially and culturally diverse film industry in which people from all backgrounds can thrive and achieve their potential.
Mitzi Cunliffe and the BAFTA Mask
The iconic BAFTA mask was designed in 1955 by US sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe and has become an internationally-recognized symbol of excellence in the art forms of the moving image.
Born in New York, Mitzi Cunliffe read Fine Arts and Fine Arts Education at Columbia, later working in the studio of a sculptor in Paris, though it was an artistic experience elsewhere in France which set the true course of her career.
Seeing the West front of the cathedral in Chartres for the first time, Cunliffe recalled, was "Love at first sight. I knew then that was the kind of work in which I wanted to be involved."
Mitzi lived in England from 1949 to 1976 and much of her work was carved or modeled in a small garage at her home in Didsbury, Manchester. From the direct carving of stone relief’s in sections for works on public buildings, she later developed methods for producing modular sculpture cast in various materials, including concrete and aluminum, for interiors and exteriors.
In 1955, a trophy mask was commissioned by Andrew Miller-Jones of the [then] Guild of Television Producers. Cunliffe originally modeled the mask in Plasticine, from which the casting moulds were made, and though based on the traditional concept of the theatrical tragicomic mask, it is more complex than its immediate front facial appearance suggests. The hollow reverse of the mask bears an electronic symbol around one eye and a screen symbol around the other, linking dramatic production and television technology, and the full intention of Mitzi's original design included a revolving support to allow the mask to be turned and viewed easily from either side.
The Guild merged with the British Film Society in 1958 to become the Society of Film and Television Arts. The SFTA later became the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1976, and presented one of the first BAFTA masks to Sir Charles Chaplin who became an Academy Fellow that year. Cunliffe's distinct design is now a symbol recognized worldwide.
Mitzi Cunliffe passed away on 30 December 2006 in Oxford, England.
Origins of the Academy
George Clarke tells the story of the British Academy and the dedicated, passionate individuals who have ensured its survival.
From informal beginnings to its great current stature:
It was in a spirit of genuine 'sow and ye shall reap' altruism that the founders of the Academy first gathered together in the hotel suite of Michael Balcon at the Hyde Park Hotel on 16 April 1947. To understand the raison d'etre of this initial meeting of 13 men and one woman, and why we are celebrating it half a century later, it would be germane to reconstruct the background that existed in the British entertainment industry at the time.
The existence of only 14,000 television sets in the London area proved the medium was not yet a force, and provincial theatre was only sustained by audiences attracted to the long-established music-hall which was seemingly without a future. Films, being 'the folklore of the 20th century', proffered more.
Annual attendances at British cinemas had soared to an all-time high of 1,635 million in 4,710 cinemas, indicating that in spite of darkened front-of-house lighting displays, acute fuel crises, continuing post-war rationing and general austerity, the cinema still offered the most attractive and practical 'escape' possible. The Odeon and Gaumont chains in Britain were overseen by J Arthur Rank, an established producer with great flair and ideas for expansion of the domestic product, who had embarked on a crusade to put British films on an internationally accepted footing. He was encouraged by the worldwide success of Brief Encounter and Great Expectations. He also backed the independent producers' company Cineguild which, in 1948, was preparing Oliver Twist, with Black Narcissus already blooming and The Red Shoes planning to step out.
By the end of 1947, Rank had an interest in 730 overseas cinemas having set up a new company in partnership with Universal Pictures to distribute his own pictures in the lucrative American market. The rival chain, ABC, minus such a potentate, with no overseas outlets and being substantially owned by Warner Brothers, was no threat to Rank despite some successes in the home market (particularly the latest Boulting Brothers' productions of Fame is the Spur and Brighton Rock in 1947). The only potential opposition to Rank's dominance of the British film industry was Alexander Korda.
The Hungarian/British entrepreneur and producer had enjoyed great artistic and financial success in pre-war Britain, but despite An Ideal Husband and Anna Karenina (personages who would break anybody's bank!) was now in the process of re-establishing London Films and Shepperton Studios and battling with the financial difficulties therein. Rank's virtual monopoly had many critics, none more so than Michael Balcon, head of Ealing Studios, which was yet to realize its comedy masterpieces, but was nevertheless obliged to depend on Rank for distribution.
A need was felt for the establishment of a national body which could adequately represent the creative influences in British films.
In spite of a mid-40s Board of Trade report, Tendencies to Monopoly in the Cinematograph Film Industry, relating specifically to the extension of power by the Rank Organization, J Arthur found himself in America busily selling when the British Government intervened, placing a hefty 75 per cent 'value added' tax on American films imported after August 1947. This was to throw the home industry into turmoil. American circuits, as a result, were temporarily closed to British films and America refused to send any new films to Britain. So cinemas were soon reduced to playing re-issues of oldies and extending the runs of new British pictures. Incidentally, this original tax was repealed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Stafford Cripps, in May 1948 in exchange for an agreement to stop the removal of earnings from American films in this country over an annual figure of $17 million.
Anything remaining was to be reinvested in British film production. So it was, in this poisoned atmosphere of dubious high film finance and manipulation, that a need was felt for the establishment of a national body which could adequately represent the creative influences in British films.
To satisfy that need, a symposium was arranged in the aforementioned hotel suite in which David Lean, as chairman, elaborated to a cross-section of British filmmakers a few facts and figures for future consideration. These topics were considered again, less stuffily, on 13 May 1947 at Claridge's where the host, Alexander Korda, touched on the subject of films reflecting the international ideal embodied by the United Nations Charter. As the evening progressed, tongues loosened and certain remarks which can only be permitted between intimates were uttered. Carol Reed remarked on how different Hollywood actors were from British actors, most of whom had a theatrical background and Korda reflected on what Charles Laughton meant when he had confessed that he had 'lost it' in a reference to Hollywood spoiling him. Nobody will ever know whether Laughton really lost it or not but, by the dessert, when a cloudlike froth of hot whipped egg-white concealing ice-cream was served, Korda could only reminisce on the whole concoction reminding him of Russian women! Certainly a group at ease with itself, if not yet furthering 'the creative influence in British films'!
That would come later, on 4 November 1947 to be precise, when the same homogeneous group met to decide 'the benefits to be derived from bringing such an organization into existence'.
The initial step was the appointment of a temporary committee. Anthony Asquith, Michael Balcon, Sir Alexander Korda, Frank Launder, David Lean, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Carol Reed and Paul Rotha were afforded the power to draft a constitution, to make recommendations regarding the finances of the Academy and to submit for election to said Academy a preliminary list of individuals who, in the opinion of the committee, had contributed outstanding creative work towards the advancement of British film.
The Academy should be non-factional, non-political and whose first aim should be to establish closer co-operation between the creative workers of all categories (feature, documentary, educational, cartoon and news-reel), undertake research, issue publications and give awards for artistic merit. Armed with all these agreements and with a Council of Management elected as above, the discussions of a typical meeting will illustrate the topics raised and how they were faced and dealt with - or not as the case may be - first time around.
So serious was the situation of non-payment that a list of Members whose subscriptions were outstanding was read aloud...
Uppermost in these first meetings, naturally enough was the question of financing the Academy. The Statement of Accounts was usually read aloud by the Secretary General, the first being Doctor Roger Manvell, or occasionally the auditor, A I Todman. At the first meeting on 19 November 1947, the funds of the Academy stood, after payment of October salaries and all bills up to date, at £790.
These funds varied annually but certainly up to April 1954, when a proportion of income could be invested (in Defense Bonds), numbers were invariably recorded in red. Indeed, in the outline of the financial position during the period 1951/52, the Chairman stated categorically that Council had been called to make a decision for or against closing the Academy as the bank only contained sufficient funds to meet current difficulties!
Subsequently, in 1952/53, it was agreed that the Academy should once more prepare a case to the BFPA for extra loans to continue, given that the Academy was 'making every possible effort to increase its revenue by its own efforts.' Unfortunately, these did not include 100 per cent support by its Members who consistently refused to keep up to date with payment of their subs. After January 1948, entrance fees would be introduced and paid by all new members, remaining at £10 until further notice. Members' subscription rates ranged from an annual £2 subscription for a Member earning up to £1,000 per annum to £50 for anyone earning over £10,000 per annum.
So serious was the situation of non-payment that at the Meeting of the Council of Management on 26 November 1952, a list of Members whose subscriptions were outstanding was read aloud and a reminder sent to those who had not paid for two or more years. A slapped wrist to any present Members in the same circumstances - whatever their subscription rate!
Another way of bolstering finance was by voluntary donations from individual (mainly film producing) companies. In 1947, the Rank Organization committed themselves to an annual subscription to the Academy of £4,000; Ealing Studios to £500; London Films offered £1,000 (generous considering it was being overhauled), which was matched by the Screen-writers' Club and several other less grandiose bodies. A unique contribution of £5 5s 0d came from the Cinematograph Exhibitors Association for 1949. It was agreed that the cheque should be destroyed, and under no circumstances should the CEA again be asked to make a donation to the Academy. So there!
A thorn in the side of the new body was to be one of premises. By December 1947, 7 Deanery Street, London W1, was proving presentation, a fact which, ostensibly at least, records the first time film and television had worked together in this country. Recognition of television had come two years previously when the possibility of presenting an Academy Award for the best television program on film had been positively discussed. Finally, however, it was decided to only recognize this field of production when the level of achievement in it 'was suitable' for an Academy Award. Ouch!
Up to (and including) the original Panorama transmitted on 11 November 1953, Andrew Miller-Jones had pioneered high quality television programs and had already helped to found the Guild of Television Producers and Directors in order 'to advance the art, science and technique of television production.' In other words, to do for television what the Academy had done, and was continuing to do, for film.
To encourage artistic and professional merit, they held their own awards, for which the American Sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe was persuaded to design the now familiar Grecian maquette, later adopted by BAFTA for its annual awards.
The first of these was held at the Television Ball at the Savoy Hotel on 24 October 1954. There were, in fact, only six awards presented on that memorable evening, but, by the time Edith Evans' role of presenter came to an end seven years later, the number had reached double figures. During this time the quality of the recipients set the standard for the future.
BAFTA: Over 60 years of Excellence
In 2007 the Academy celebrated 60 years of the best in British moving images. We continue to embrace the ever-changing worlds of Film, TV and Games.
When David Lean and his esteemed colleagues founded the Academy in 1947 their aim was "to recognize those who had contributed outstanding creative work towards the advancement of British film". The Academy is now 60 years old and has achieved much more than its founders ever dreamed of.
The Academy has witnessed huge changes in the art forms of the moving image since these early days. We have followed new directions in cinema. When Television became a mass medium, we embraced it. Today, the immense creativity of the best video games is enjoyed by millions and demands our recognition.
As these art forms continue to evolve and reach new audiences, so does the Academy. Our program of events is growing in size and scope. Webcasting is bringing the best of our activities to an audience of thousands, sometimes millions. Our awards continue to recognize the best talent in moving images and be recognized throughout the world as mark of excellence.
The future of British films depends on how they are made. If the standard is high then the future is rosy...
The way ahead
In order to maintain these high standards and an expanding range of activities, the Academy undertook a strategic review in 2006. As a result, the Academy’s remit was crystallized into a clear, unambiguous statement that we could all sign up to:
To support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public.
A strategic plan was also delivered to concentrate our efforts on five key strands of activity: Learning and Events; Membership; Archive and Publishing; Relationships with Broadcasters; and Financial Stability.
Learning is at the heart of our remit and we are developing exciting strands of industry and public events. Our aim is to make our website the first port-of-call for anyone interested in learning more about the best films, television and games.
The Academy’s membership embodies a unique wealth of talent and experience and we want to encourage our members to bring this knowledge to our educational events. Our expanding educational program will offer opportunities for practitioners to not only pass on what they know but to learn new things in the process.
Our unique historical archive is now under the care of Doreen Dean and the Archive Committee. We’re adding to it all the time but our legacy includes everything we do today as well as in the past. Week in, week out, we are capturing the highlights of our events program for posterity and making many of them available for download on this website.
The recent creation of BAFTA Productions will give the Academy greater involvement in the broadcast of future awards, allow us to generate a range of other programs across all major channels and provide exciting video content online.
All of this is possible due to our policy of sustained, prudent financial management. We can now deliver our remit from a position of financial health and stability.
Looking forward together
Carol Reed, winner of the first Academy best film award for his manhunt thriller Odd Man Out, affirmed in the late 1940s that “the future of British films depends on how they are made. If the standard is high then the future is rosy”. The strategic review has rejuvenated the Academy and renewed our mission. We are equipped for the future – to continue promoting and rewarding excellence for another 60 years and beyond.
Whether part of the Academy or simply a fan of film, television or games we can look forward together to celebrating ever more moving images that inspire, inform and entertain.
Our Membership of some 6,500 industry practitioners makes the Academy unique.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is comprised of members in the UK and around the world, the large majority of whom are creatives and professionals working in the film, television and video games industries. Over the last several years, the Academy's membership has grown dramatically. We have developed a broader, more inclusive, more engaged membership that better reflects the ways our industries are evolving.
We would like to continue in that same vein, fine-tuning our voting membership by, as always, putting achievement and expertise first but also by focusing on technical areas we feel are under-represented. To do that effectively, and to maintain the high standard of debate within the Academy community, we took a decision in January 2005 to place an overall cap of 6500 on the worldwide voting membership. The cap comprises two separate ceilings of 5000 in the UK and 1500 in the US. Our current numbers already stand close to that number but we will continue to welcome and review membership applications each year, with decisions about individual applications made as part of our annual renewal period.
Full voting members are responsible for making suggestions and voting for the relevant Annual Awards. In addition, all members have voting rights at the Annual General Meeting and for the election of the Board of Trustees.
Members may make use of the bar and restaurant at 195 Piccadilly. Members also get preferential rates on hire of the Princess Anne Theatre and meeting rooms.
SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
The Academy organises regular feature film and television screenings plus lectures, debates, masterclasses, networking evenings and other industry-related functions. All of these are open to members at no charge or at preferential rates.
A member may bring one guest to screenings and events unless previously indicated with the specific event details. For use of the club facilities, a member may bring up to three guests, whose names must be signed in the Visitor's Book. Members wishing to bring more than three guests should make arrangements in advance with the General Manager.
Advance information on all screenings and events is posted on the Academy website. Further screening and events information is included in a weekly members email newsletter.
Tickets to the ceremonies at which the British Academy Awards are presented each year are available to members at preferential rates.
1. British Academy Video Games Awards
2. The Academy Fellowship Award
3. BAFTA Ones to Watch Award
4. Video Games Award
5. GAME Award
6. Video Games Fellow
7. Film Awards Gift Bag Competition
8. Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema
9. Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
10. Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema
11. The Orange Rising Star Award
12. Children's Special Award
Film Awards Judging Process
Find out how your favourite films and actors get voted for the most prestigious accolade in the film industry, the British Academy Film Awards.
Winning a BAFTA...
Every year around 250 films get entered by distributors, producers or Academy Members for consideration at the Orange British Academy Film awards.
The Academy’s members are individuals representing all fields of the Film, Television and Video Games industries. Each one has made a significant contribution to their particular field.
In order to determine who takes home the award in each category from that initial group of 250 films there is a voting system that takes place over three separate rounds.
Voting Chart: Film Awards 2010In Round 1 all film-voting members of BAFTA (6500) can vote up to twelve times in each category from the full list of films entered. Once the votes are in from this first stage, then the top 15 films from each category go through to a long list in Round 2
In Round 2 all BAFTA members can again vote in each category. This time the members only get to vote five times in each separate section. The five most popular films from each category after the round two votes come in make it to the final round of voting, where they will be announced at a press conference at the BAFTA head quarters at 195 Piccadilly around a month before the actual award ceremony takes place.
For most BAFTA members, Round 3 in the most simple. There is only one vote each and they only have to vote in the following six categories:
1. Best Film
2. Leading Actress
3. Leading Actor
4. Supporting Actress
5. Supporting Actor
6. Film Not In The English Language
For every other category at the awards only members of the Academy who have expertise and experience in specialist fields related to those categories can vote. For example, the winner of the Editing category is decided by members with editing experience. Members voting in their specialist chapters have one vote in each section.
How are films entered?
As long as a film passes the rules of eligibility then it may be entered for the film awards. A film may be qualified for consideration by the films distributor or producer, or by any Academy voting member. Once the film is submitted then a screen credits form will be required to be completed by the distributor or producer.
What happens once a film is submitted?
Once a film has been submitted and a screen credits form been fully completed then the film enters the first round of the voting system. Distributors can send out screener DVDs or organize screenings of their entered films. The announcement for the shortlist of nominees takes place at 195 Piccadilly around a month before the ceremony is due to take place.
What makes a film eligible?
In order for a film to be valid for consideration its first public exhibition must be in a cinema (rather than on television or online), and it must have a UK theatrical release in a public UK cinema for no fewer than seven days in the calendar year that corresponds to the upcoming awards. If a film opens between the first of January and the Friday before the awards in February then it may be eligible as long as it is screened to Academy voting members during this time. A film must be feature length, i.e. with a running time exceeding 60 minutes. Films from all countries are eligible in all categories, with the exception of Outstanding British Film, Outstanding Debut, Short Film and Short Animation which are for British films only.
In order to vote you must be a registered member of BAFTA. There are around 6500 BAFTA members with the large majority being creatives or professionals in the film, video and television industries. Non-members can vote for the Orange Rising Star Award where a list of five potential future film stars are up for a public vote.
Do all members vote in all categories?
Within the voting membership, there are specialist voting chapters, consisting of at least 80 members with direct experience in the relevant field.
The chapters are:
* Costume Design
* Make Up & Hair
* Production Design
* Special Visual Effects
In earlier rounds, all members have the option to vote in all categories, but can abstain in any category in which they do not feel they have sufficient experience to make an informed decision. In the first round, although all members can vote, the votes of the relevant chapter in each category are counted separately, and their top 5 are guaranteed to go through to the second round. These chapter selections are flagged in the longlist.
In the final round of voting, all members vote for Best Film, Film Not in the English Language, and the four performance categories. The winners of the other categories are decided only by members of the relevant chapter.
Are any of the awards decided differently?
* Film Not in the English Language: nominations are decided by a chapter of members with an interest in and understanding of world cinema. All members vote to decide the winner in round three.
* Short Film, Short Animation and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer: nominations and winners in these categories are judged by juries.
* Outstanding British Film: the membership votes for ten films in the first round. The nominations are then chosen by a combination of membership vote and the Academy’s Film Committee. The Committee, supported by a larger jury comprising selected industry figures, decides the winner.
* Animated Film: the membership and animation chapter vote for five films in Round One. The chapter’s top three, and the next two from the general membership vote are long listed; these are reduced to three nominations in Round Two. The chapter votes for the winner.
* Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema and the Academy Fellowship: these awards are in the gift of the Academy. The Fellowship is the highest accolade the Academy can bestow.
Where is the ceremony held and where can I watch it?
The Orange British Academy Film Awards take place at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. This historic venue has been the home of the BAFTA’s since 2006. The venue holds 2000 people and is the perfect setting for the showpiece ceremony for British film. Although tickets to the ceremony are only available to people working in the industry, the show is normally broadcast on the BBC with a few hours time delay. For a chance to get closer to the stars as they arrive on the red carpet there is a chance to queue and watch the arrivals in public pens. Access to the pens is available to people with wristbands which are distributed on a first come first serve basis. 8:33pm