Netflix’s lavish historical drama “The Crown,” which chronicles the early years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, reaped a leading five bids at the BAFTA TV Awards but was completely shut out of the winner’s circle. Likewise, at last month’s TV Craft Awards, it won only two of its seven races (Costume Design, Visual Effects).
Although there are a slew of British shows like “The Crown” that qualify for Emmy consideration because of American co-producers, they are often blanked by 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.”
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