While “The Night Manager” reaped six bids at the BAFTA TV Craft Awards, it was all but shut out of the main awards, with only one nomination for featured player Tom Hollander who played an unscrupulous aide to an arms dealer. Because it had six episodes, this acclaimed adaptation of the John le Carre spy thriller had to compete as a drama series at the BAFTAs. On this side of the pond, it was considered a limited series by the both the Emmys and Golden Globes. At the former helmer Susanne Bier prevailed while at the latter leading man Tom Hiddleston won as did Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman in supporting.
BAFTA voters single out Hollander, who had been overlooked by the American kudos. That he reaped a BAFTA bid is especially impressive given that the drama acting categories pit the players in telefilms, miniseries and series against each other.
Although there are a slew of British shows that qualify for Emmy consideration because of American co-producers, they are often shut out of these homegrown awards. The most egregious example in recent times was “Downton Abbey,” which did not contend in any BAFTA categories (including the crafts) for its last three seasons save for a production design bid in 2013. That was despite winning the SAG Awards ensemble prize twice and reaping three Emmy nominations for Drama Series as well as eight bids by its cast.
While the British academy awards for film have become an important precursor prize to the Oscars, the TV kudos have little impact on the Emmys. That dichotomy is due to the fact that the film folk overhauled their nomination process to mirror that of the American academy while the TV side has stuck with a system that lets too few decide too much and lacks a lot of categories.
The entire BAFTA membership, which numbers in the thousands, can vote for up to six programs or individuals per category. The top six vote getters in each category then go through to a second round of voting. Then, according to the BAFTA guidelines, “each broadcaster has the opportunity to enter an additional program per category, per channel. In the case of terrestrial channels that have digital channels, the broadcaster can only choose one of their digital channels in which to put a program forward; this does not affect their right to enter their terrestrial channels.”
Thus, the second round of voting may have upwards of 10 further contenders per category supplementing the original six choices of BAFTA members. Voting in this second round is restricted to voters who sit on the separate juries for each award. They view the tapes and whittle the entries down to four nominees before choosing a winner. It is possible that many of these nominees and even winners could be the secondary submissions of broadcasters rather than the primary picks of BAFTA voters.
There are between nine and a dozen voters per panel and “each jury aims to be balanced in age, sex, experience, ethnicity and in broadcasting allegiances, with a track record of achievement in the genre and with no direct association with a short-listed programme. It must also comprise a mix of related skills such as writers, producers, directors, actors.”
With only four programs nominated per category, the odds of reaping bids are long. And they get even more remote for performers. While there are separate awards for one-off telefilms, miniseries (defined as two to five episodes) and drama series (six to 19 installments), all the performances across these genres are pitted against each other to fight for four slots for each of lead and supporting actor and actress.
On the comedy, there are no supporting awards. And none at all given for performers in continuing dramas such as “Coronation Street” and “Eastenders” which are mainstays of the ITV and BBC primetime schedules respectively with five episodes per week drawing upwards of 10 million viewers.
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