BAFTAs abandon longlists to stay ahead of Oscars

Unlike the Oscars where nominations are determined by each branch (except for Best Picture), the entire BAFTA membership had decided the nominees in a two-part process. To guide members in the second phase of voting, the top five picks of the respective chapters (akin to branches) were designated on the longlists.

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On Tuesday, BAFTA announced it was consolidating these two stages of voting into one with nominations to be announced on Jan. 9, 2013 (i.e., six days ahead of the Oscar nominations). Winners will be revealed at a ceremony on Feb. 10 (i.e., during voting for the Academy Awards  which take place on Feb. 24). 

The whole membership will continue to cast nomination and winner ballots for Best Picture and the four performance prizes.

Members can now opt in to chapters and vote for the nominees and winners of the feature prizes for: Animation, British; Documentary; and Foreign-language.

However, in a reversal, chapters will determine the nominees for a slew of creative categories —  Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay; Cinematography; Costume Design; Director; Editing; Make-Up & Hair; Original Music; Production Design; Sound; and Special Visual Effects —  while the membership as a whole will vote on the winners of these races. 

Chapter choices had been a good barometer of the eventual nominees. Last year, “The Artist” led with 10 of its 12 chapter mentions making the top five while “Hugo” had nine and “Tinker Tailor” eight in this top tier. While support for “My Week with Marilyn” was relatively weak as it only had six of its 16 bids make this top tier, it translated five of these into nominations plus a bid for Best British Film.

The Directors slate and all but one of the 20 acting nominees (Carey Mulligan, “Drive”) were in the top five on the longlists. So were all the screenplay nominees but for “The Iron Lady.” “War Horse” picked up two of its five technical bids despite not being among the top tier for Cinematography and Visual Effects. The only other outliers were in Costumes (“Tinker Tailor Solider Spy”), Score (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and Sound (“The Artist”). 

Two years ago, “The King’s Speech” had 12 of its 14 longlist mentions rate in the top five and all were nominated. “Black Swan” landed 10 of its 14 longlist candidates in the top five and all reaped bids as did one of its longshots. 

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