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British Academy Awards’ Oscar-Geared Deadline Rules Have Unintended Consequences

One of several British Academy Awards “casualties,” Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s sweeping World War I drama A Very Long Engagement received one single BAFTA nomination – in the ghettoized Best Foreign Language Film category. (Pictured: Audrey Tautou in A Very Long Engagement.)
  • The British Academy Awards’ Oscar-geared new deadline rules have resulted in big-name “BAFTA casualties” – including, ironically, several major Oscar hopefuls.

British Academy Awards’ Oscar-geared new rules’ have actually shortchanged several top potential Oscar contenders

The British Academy Awards’ widely criticized new eligibility rules – with Hollywood’s Academy Awards as their raison d’être – have led to a series of high-profile “BAFTA casualties,” including, ironically, several major potential Oscar contenders.

For instance:

These five (non-British) awards season favorites were officially eligible for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ 2005 BAFTA Awards. Yet A Very Long Engagement received one single nod in the Best Foreign Language Film category, Sideways managed to land one nomination for its screenplay, while The Sea Inside, Million Dollar Baby, and Kinsey were completely shut out.

How come?

Oscar-friendly + British Academy member-unfriendly rules

The British Academy Awards’ problem is a direct result of the fact that several potential contenders either have just been released or have yet to be released in the United Kingdom.

Now that the BAFTAs have become one more awards season Oscar precursor – that’s the British Academy’s way of gaining more international publicity for its trophies – new rules state that movies released in the U.K. as late as March are eligible for the previous year’s awards.

Since the British Academy Awards ceremony takes place quite a bit before Oscar night, votes for the nominees must be in by early January. As a consequence, there is little time for members to catch up with the latest (or upcoming) releases.

A dearth of both screeners and special screenings of a number of important films have led to fewer votes for movies that otherwise might have been top BAFTA contenders. In fact, according to journalist Brian Pendreigh in The Scotsman, BAFTA voters received a mere 25 DVDs.

Pendreigh adds that “even as the BAFTA ceremony reaches new heights of glamour and prestige, the failure to make sure that voters at least get a chance to see the best films is turning the awards into a farce.”

British Academy Awards’ winners & nominees: Howard Hughes biopic named Best Film

Update: Below is the 2005 British Academy Awards’ full list of winners, in addition to a partial list of nominees. As it turned out, one of the “BAFTA casualties,” Sideways, did top the sole category in which it had been nominated.

Note: The British Academy Awards’ Best Actress, Imelda Staunton, had previously topped that category at last year’s Venice Film Festival. (Coincidentally, Best Actor Spanish Academy Award [Goya] winner Javier Bardem was also a Venice winner for Alejandro Amenábar’s pro-euthanasia dramaThe Sea Inside.)

Film
*The Aviator.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Finding Neverland.
The Motorcycle Diaries.
Vera Drake.

Foreign Language Film
*The Motorcycle Diaries (U.S. | Brazil | Argentina).
Bad Education (Spain).
The Chorus / Les choristes (France).
House of Flying Daggers (China | Hong Kong).
A Very Long Engagement (France | U.S.).

British Film
*My Summer of Love.
Dead Man’s Shoes.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Shaun of the Dead.
Vera Drake.

Actress
* Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake.
Charlize Theron, Monster.
Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Kate Winslet, Finding Neverland.
Zhang Ziyi, House of Flying Daggers.

Actor
* Jamie Foxx, Ray.
Gael García Bernal, The Motorcycle Diaries.
Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland.
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator.

Supporting Actor
*Clive Owen, Closer.
Alan Alda, The Aviator.
Phil Davis, Vera Drake.
Jamie Foxx, Collateral.
Rodrigo De la Serna, The Motorcycle Diaries.

Supporting Actress
*Cate Blanchett, The Aviator.
Julie Christie, Finding Neverland.
Heather Craney, Vera Drake.
Natalie Portman, Closer.
Meryl Streep, The Manchurian Candidate.

David Lean Award for Direction
* Mike Leigh, Vera Drake.
Marc Forster, Finding Neverland.
Michel Gondry, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Michael Mann, Collateral.
Martin Scorsese, The Aviator.

Original Screenplay
*Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Charlie Kaufman.
Collateral, Stuart Beattie.
Ray, James L. White.
The Aviator, John Logan.
Vera Drake, Mike Leigh

Adapted Screenplay
*Sideways, Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor.
Closer, Patrick Marber.
Finding Neverland, David Magee.
The Chorus, Christophe Barratier & Philippe Lopes-Curval.
The Motorcycle Diaries, José Rivera.

Cinematography
*Collateral, Dion Beebe & Paul Cameron.
Finding Neverland, Roberto Schaefer.
House of Flying Daggers, Zhao Xiaoding.
The Aviator, Robert Richardson.
The Motorcycle Diaries, Eric Gautier.

Film Editing
*Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Valdís Óskarsdóttir.
Collateral, Jim Miller & Paul Rubell.
House of Flying Daggers, Cheng Long.
The Aviator, Thelma Schoonmaker.
Vera Drake, Jim Clark.

Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music
*The Motorcycle Diaries, Gustavo Santaolalla.
Finding Neverland, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek.
Ray, Craig Armstrong.
The Aviator, Howard Shore.
The Chorus, Bruno Coulais.

Production Design
*The Aviator, Dante Ferretti.
Finding Neverland, Gemma Jackson.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Stuart Craig.
House of Flying Daggers, Huo Tingxiao.
Vera Drake, Eve Stewart.

Costume Design
*Vera Drake, Jacqueline Durran.
Finding Neverland, Alexandra Byrne.
House of Flying Daggers, Emi Wada.
The Aviator, Sandy Powell.
The Merchant of Venice, Sammy Sheldon.

Carl Foreman Award for Most Promising Newcomer
* Amma Asante (director/writer), A Way of Life.
Andrea Gibb (writer), AfterLife.
Shona Auerbach (director), Dear Frankie.
Matthew Vaughn (director), Layer Cake.
Nira Park (producer), Shaun of the Dead.

Visual Effects
The Aviator.
*The Day After Tomorrow.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
House of Flying Daggers.
Spider-Man 2.

Sound
The Aviator.
Collateral.
House of Flying Daggers.
*Ray.
Spider-Man 2.

Makeup & Hair
*The Aviator.
Finding Neverland.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
House of Flying Daggers.
Vera Drake.

Short Animation
*Birthday Boy, dir.: Sejong Park.
City Paradise.
Heavy Pockets.
His Passionate Bride.
Little Things.

Short Film
*The Banker, dir.: Hattie Dalton.
Can’t Stop Breathing.
Elephant Boy.
Knitting a Love Song.
Six Shooter.

BAFTA Fellowship:John Barry.

Audience Award:Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, dir. Alfonso Cuarón.


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British Academy Awards website.

Image of Audrey Tautou in one of the British Academy Awards’ “casualties,” Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s A Very Long Engagement: Warner Independent Pictures.

“British Academy Awards’ Oscar-Geared Deadline Rules Have Unintended Consequences” last updated in December 2020.

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