2021 BAFTA Awards nominations preview: What will the new system of voting mean for this Oscars precursor?

Nominations for the 74th annual BAFTA Awards will be revealed on March 9, just hours before the deadline for Oscar voters to weigh in with their choices for nominations. The BAFTAs will be handed out in London on on April 11. That is four days before final voting for the Oscars opens. The 93rd Academy Awards take place on Sunday, April 25.

The British Academy of Film and Television Academy has approximately 9,000 voting members as does the academy. In 2013 the BAFTAs adopted aa system akin to the Oscars where nominations were determined by each branch (except for Best Picture). The British academy made this change so that the BAFTAs could take place before final voting for the Oscars was over. However this year the BAFTA Awards upended its nominating system in an effort to increase viewership of all the submitted films. As part of this process, the BAFTAs brought back longlists.

In round one, voters ranked their top 15 films and those with the most votes made the longlists that were revealed on February 4. For the acting and directing categories, juries comprised of about a dozen diverse voters drawn from a range of backgrounds chose the final four entries on the longlists; they will also decide the six nominees.

In round two, which kicked off off February 19, members were required to watch all the contenders on the longlists. They then ranked their top five films to determine nominations. While there are only five nominees for Best Picture, screenplays and craft categories, there are six in each of the acting categories, up from five. There are also six nominees for Best Director and in an effort to address a lack in female representation, that longlist had 10 men and 10 women.

In round three, which will run from March 25 to April 7, the entire membership can vote for the winners in each category after watching all nominated films.

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Since the BAFTAs moved up in 2001 to take place before the Oscars, these kudos have foreseen eight of the 20 Best Picture Oscar winners including “Gladiator” (2001), “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2004) and “Slumdog Millionaire” (2009). And they got it right in the first five years of the expanded Best Picture race: “The Hurt Locker” (2010), “The King’s Speech” (2011), “The Artist” (2012), “Argo” (2013) and “12 Years a Slave” (2014).

But since then, their radar has been off. In 2015 the BAFTAs went with “Boyhood” while “Birdman” won Best Picture at the Oscars. Likewise in 2016, they opted for “The Revenant” instead of the academy’s choice “Spotlight.” In 2017, the British embraced “La La Land” over eventual Oscar winner “Moonlight.” In 2018, the BAFTAs opted for the home-grown “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” over “The Shape of Water.” In 2019, the British pic was “Roma” while the Best Picture prize went to “Green Book.” And in 2020 the British went with the Union Jack waving “1917” while the Oscar voters embraced the Korean flick “Parasite.”

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