BAFTAs stay ahead of Oscars with Feb. 16, 2014 ceremony

With the Oscars having shifted to March 2 to avoid the Winter Olympics, it was no surprise that the BAFTAs announced Wednesday that their film awards for 2013 will take place on Feb. 16, 2014. 

The British academy had to go for this Sunday right in the middle of the sportsfest (Feb. 7 – 23) to keep ahead of the Oscars by two weeks. As the BBC does not air these kudos live, it has some flexibility in terms of timing. And with Sochi, Russia — site of the Games — four hours ahead of London, all the events of the day should be finished early enough to air the BAFTAs in primetime. 

While the homegrown audience is important, the BAFTAs are just as concerned with being watched by Oscar voters. Since these kudos were moved up in 2000 to take place while academy members are still voting, the BAFTAs have foreseen seven of the 12 Best Picture Oscar winners — Gladiator” (2000), “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003), “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008), “The Hurt Locker” (2009) and “The King’s Speech” (2010), “The Artist” (2011) and “Argo” (2012).

This year, the BAFTA nominees were announced on Jan. 9 and winners revealed on Feb. 10. That date for the nominations announcement was originally six days before the Oscars were to reveal their contenders but then the academy jumped ahead to Jan. 10. Next year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Jan. 16, so expect the BAFTA roster to be revealed at least one week before that. 

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This year, BAFTA did away with the long lists that preceded the final nominations and restructured the nomination process to be more like that of the Oscars. 

All BAFTA members cast nomination ballots for Best Picture and the four performance prizes. Chapters (akin to the academy’s branches) determined 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.

The membership as a whole voted on the winners of all these races. And members could opt in to chapters and vote for the nominees and winners of the feature prizes for: Animation, British, Documentary and Foreign-language. 

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