British Academy Film Award

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Model of the award-winning BAFTA mask with BBC banner (2008)
The Royal Opera House in London, the venue for the award since 2007

The British Academy Film Awards (short BAFTA Awards and BAFTA Film Awards ; and 1968 British Film Academy Awards , and 1975 as part of the Society of Film and Television Arts Awards as Stella Awards awarded) are the main national film awards Britain . They have been awarded every February in London by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) since 1948 and are considered the British counterparts to the US Oscars . The award goes to national and foreign filmmakers and film productions that were published in Great Britain during the past calendar year. Based on its sponsor , the telecommunications company Orange , it has been operating officially under the name Orange British Academy Film Awards since 2000 , and under the EE British Academy Film Awards since 2013 . The award gala is broadcast live by the BBC and is also one of the largest annual meetings in the British film industry.

The last award ceremony took place on February 2, 2020 in London's Royal Albert Hall .


Foundation of the British Film Academy and first award ceremony

The British Academy Film Awards, along with the Finnish Jussi (first awarded in 1944) and the Danish Bodil (1948), are among the oldest European film prizes still awarded today. They were first awarded in 1948 by the British Film Academy chaired by David Leans . The "British Film Academy" had been founded the year before by a group of filmmakers around Anthony Asquith , Michael Balcon , Sir Alexander Korda , Frank Launder , Lean, Michael Powell , Emeric Pressburger , Carol Reed and Paul Rotha . The non-political organization wanted - in addition to stronger promotion of cooperation among filmmakers, research and the issuing of specialist publications - "to honor those who have contributed to the further development of British film with outstanding creative work " and to launch a film award. While in the United States as early as the 1920s and 1930s with the Photoplay Award (1920), the Oscar of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (1929) and by critics associations ( National Board of Review 1932 New York Film Critics Circle 1935) The first film awards had arisen, there was no corresponding award in Great Britain. This is why domestic film honors have remained for such important works as Alexander Korda's Das Privatlebens Heinrichs VIII. (1933; Oscar for leading actor Charles Laughton ), Alfred Hitchcock's A Lady Vanishes (1938; director's award from the New York Film Critics Circle) or Anthony Asquith's Pygmalion (1938; Oscar for the best script).

The first British Film Academy Awards presented awards in three categories, honoring the best film productions of the previous year. Replicas of a bronze figure by Henry Moore depicting a seated woman served as prize trophies. The Henry Moore Bronze , valued at £ 550, was to be awarded until 1967. As best film ( "best movie from any source") won William Wyler's Oscar-winning US production The Best Years of Our Lives , as best British film , the crime drama was Launched by Carol Reed named. A special award for “Documentaries and Specialized Films” honored Paul Rotha's Oscar-nominated documentary The World Is Rich .

Competition with foreign cinema

The two film categories were created with the foresight to reduce the possible dominance of the big Hollywood studios and not to completely exclude the domestic film industry from the film awards gala. At the second award ceremony in 1949, productions by British directors won both categories - Laurence Olivier's Oscar-winning Shakespeare adaptation Hamlet won the best film category, and the crime drama Little Heart in Need was named best British film. This double success was to be repeated eight times over the next twenty years, while in 1952 David Lean's adventure film The Unknown Enemy won a production for the first time in both categories. Foreign-language feature films could also be nominated in the Best Film category from the second award in 1949. In 1950 Vittorio De Sica's neo-realistic work Fahrraddiebe won a non-English language production for the first time. a. about Robert A. Stemmle's Berlin Ballad .

Audrey Hepburn received three actor awards between 1954 and 1965

In the following years the number of price categories slowly increased. The United Nations Award honored films from 1949, the most the spirit of the United Nations expressed brought (first prize: The subscribed by Fred Zinnemann ). In 1953, actor categories were introduced for the best British and foreign actors and actresses and were to receive blue and white Wedgwood porcelain plaques as award trophies until 1968 . As with the two film categories, the aim was to prevent any dominance of the foreign and especially the US film industry. However, this sometimes led to irritating price decisions. In 1955, 1959 and 1965 the German Cornell Borchers , the French Simone Signoret and the American Anne Bancroft won the award for best foreign actress, although they had worked in British film productions. In the same category, the British Jean Simmons received nominations for her work in American cinema in 1957 and 1961. In 1959 and 1963, the American Irene Worth and the French Leslie Caron were each named "Best British Actress" for their achievements in British films. At the same time, the voting process turned out to be difficult due to the increasing number of nominations. While up to seven films competed in the Best Film category at the first awards , there were up to 20 feature film productions from the mid-1950s.

Merger to form BAFTA and prize trophy awarded today

In 1958, the British Film Academy merged with the Guild of Television Producers and Directors to form the Society of Film and Television Arts to "improve the standards of film and television production" and "promote public appreciation for the arts." However, the film prize was not restructured until 1968, when the previously separate award ceremonies for film and television productions were merged. In order to avoid confusion in the nomination committee, the number of nominations per category was set at four from 1969 and the category Best British Film was deleted (this was not to be reintroduced until 1993 as the Alexander Korda Award ). The distinction between domestic and foreign actors was also omitted and from now on - as with the Oscars - prizes were awarded separately for main and supporting actors. At the same time, additional categories were created for directors, film composers ("Anthony Asquith Memorial Award" by the Anthony Asquith Memorial Fund ), cameramen, production designers, sound engineers and costume designers, and a new prize statuette was introduced. Until 1975, the winners were honored with a Wedgwood figurine made of basalt ware , created by Eric Owen , which was known under the name "Stella" (Stella Award) .

It was not until 1976 that the Society of Film and Television changed its name to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and introduced the "BAFTA Mask" (BAFTA Mask) , which is still awarded today, as a regular prize trophy. The mask, which consists of a phosphor bronze alloy, was designed in 1955 by the American Mitzi Cunliffe (1918-2006) as an award for the Guild of Television Producers and Directors . The artist, who lived in England at the time, was based on the classic masks used in antiquity that typified actors. The inside of the mask is decorated with two symbols around the eyes - an “electronic” symbol for technical progress is embossed behind the “closed” left eye, while the right “open” eye of the mask is framed by a symbol in the form of a screen is. The masks have been made by New Pro Foundries in West Drayton, Middlesex , since 1976 . The first recipient of the BAFTA mask was Sir Charles Chaplin , who in the same year received the BAFTA's most important honorary award, the Academy Fellowship (“Academy Membership”).

In the 1970s, American and French film productions dominated the award ceremonies, before a turning point in 1982 with the victory of Hugh Hudson's sports film The Hour of the Winner and, as a result, increased British productions ( Gandhi , Rita finally wants to know , The Killing Fields - Screaming country , room with a view ) were taken into account. In 1985, the German Wim Wenders won the director's award and a nomination in the category of best film for his multi-award-winning road movie Paris, Texas . Although a separate category has existed since 1983 that honors the best foreign-language feature film , in 1988 the French period film Jean Florette by Claude Berri won the British film award in the category of best film . a. against John Boorman's acclaimed war drama Hope and Glory . Then, the category Best Foreign Language Film in Best Foreign Language Film (Best Film not in the English Language) renamed. A foreign language film did not win for more than 20 years, although productions such as Ang Lee's Tiger & Dragon (2001), Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Die fabelbare Welt der Amélie (2002) or Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's Das Leben der Others ( 2008 ) were able to secure a nomination in the category Best Film . It was not until 2019 that Alfonso Cuarón's Mexican drama Roma , a foreign-language production in the most important film category, received another award, which was followed the following year by a nomination for the Korean contribution Parasite by Bong Joon-ho .

Competition for the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards

In 1998, the gala, now known as the BAFTA Awards, was restructured and film and television prizes were again awarded at separate events. The British Academy Film Awards were sponsored by the telecommunications company Orange after being separated from the British Academy Television Awards . Since 2000, the film award has been officially known as the Orange British Academy Film Awards (since 2013 under the EE British Academy Film Awards , a sister company of Orange). This year the nominations were increased from four to five nominations per category, as at the Academy Awards. The date of the British Academy Film Awards has also been brought forward. Until then, the film awards gala had been held in April - apart from the American film awards season, which began with the presentation of the National Board of Review Awards in early December and ended with the Academy Awards in March - Britain's most important film award was moved to February, between the annual Golden Globe and the Academy Awards. The British Academy Film Awards have been included on various occasions as a new "Oscar indicator" by the US film industry. While Richard Napper, head of the British subsidiary of Columbia TriStar , interpreted the newly brought forward film award as a “springboard”, other film studio bosses saw the award as “nothing more than a free trip to London”.

The London premiere cinema Odeon Leicester Square was the venue for the BAFTA awards until 2006

In 2006, the broadcaster was one BBC for prime time broadcast Film Awards Gala at the three most expensive British television shows whose broadcast rights have been sold globally. 231 territories and principalities were found as buyers, whereas five years earlier the British Film Academy Awards had only been broadcast within Great Britain. The cost of the awards ceremony, which does not require public grants, was estimated at £ 2 million in 2007 and funded by BAFTA, the BBC and sponsor Orange. In the same year, the award moved from the UK premiere cinema Odeon Leicester Square to the larger-capacity Royal Opera House in London, where it continues to this day. Anna Butler, former Head of Marketing at Pathé UK , stated in 2007 that BAFTA nominations could add “real shine” to a film award campaign. In 2006, the film she directed, LA Crash, received nine nominations and later won an Oscar. "... it helped raise the film profile ahead of the Oscars," said Butler, who considers a handful of nominations to be more valuable than a win or two unless they are in key categories like Best Picture or Actor categories. Critics, on the other hand, doubted that the BAFTA Awards would be well recognized outside of Great Britain and would have an effect on the European continent, where individual film awards are given from country to country.

In the years that followed, the British Academy Film Awards competed with the Golden Globe Awards. In 2009, the five nominated film productions in the Best Picture category matched the nominated films at the Academy Awards . Between 2009 and 2014, the film, which later won an Oscar, was awarded six times in a row:

year Golden Globe Prize Winner (Comedy / Musical) Golden Globe Prize Winner (Drama) BAFTA awardee Oscar winner
2008 Sweeney Todd Apology Apology No Country for Old Men
2009 Vicky Cristina Barcelona Slumdog millionaire Slumdog millionaire Slumdog millionaire
2010 hangover Avatar - Departure for Pandora Deadly Command - The Hurt Locker Deadly Command - The Hurt Locker
2011 The kids are all right The social network The King's Speech The King's Speech
2012 The Artist The Descendants - family and other affairs The Artist The Artist
2013 Les Misérables Argo Argo Argo
2014 American hustle 12 years a slave 12 years a slave 12 years a slave
2015 Grand Budapest Hotel Boyhood Boyhood Birdman
2016 The Martian - Save Mark Watney The Revenant The Revenant Spotlight
2017 La La Land Moonlight La La Land Moonlight
2018 Lady Bird Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Shape of Water - The whisper of water
2019 Green Book - A special friendship Bohemian Rhapsody Roma Green Book - A special friendship
2020 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 1917 1917 Parasite

Others criticized this trend, which can also be seen in the actor categories. British film critic Jason Solomons, 2010 co-juror for the Orange Rising Star Awards for the best young international actor, described the British Academy Film Awards as "a dress rehearsal for the Oscars". As the British Film and Television Academy grew to more than 6,000 members, many votes came from the United States and the category for the best film was increasingly dominated by Hollywood productions. Victories of European films, as often happened in the 1950s, 1970s and 1980s, are now a rarity. Unlike the London Film Festival, the BAFTA Awards did not represent world cinema. The films should be treated the same as they used to be, and artistically demanding works like Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon or Armando Iannucci's In the Loop should be able to defeat American major productions like James Cameron's Avatar , according to Solomons, who also had the lack of an award category noted for documentaries. In the past, Fall ins Leere (2004) and Man on Wire (2009) both won in the Best British Film category against feature films such as Actually… Love and On the Road to Cold Mountain and Mamma Mia! or Slumdog Millionaire competes. British film critic Nicholas Jones, who was critical of lobbying at the British Academy Film Awards in 2010, attributed the preference for American productions to the fact that the award ceremony was brought forward. Films from other European countries would also have a more difficult position on the British cinema market than was the case in the 1980s when the French entry Jean Florette won .

In 2011, the award, broadcast live on BBC One , achieved the highest number of viewers in almost seven years. The award of the historical film The King's Speech about the stuttering British King George VI. (played by Colin Firth ) followed an average of 5.8 million television viewers, which corresponded to a market share of 24.9 percent. In 2004, an average of 5.3 million viewers watched the victory of Peter Jackson's fantasy film The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King .

From 2007 to 2011, the award ceremony was moderated by the Briton Jonathan Ross . Stephen Fry , who hosted the event from 2001 to 2006, has been moderating the award ceremony again since 2012 .

Record winner

Record winner Judi Dench at the 2007 British Academy Film Awards
The American Meryl Streep is the most frequently nominated actress

The most successful film production that won the BAFTA Award in the Best Film category is Zwei Banditen . George Roy Hill's western comedy won nine awards in 1971. Roland Joffé's anti-war film The Killing Fields - Schreiendes Lands came to eight BAFTA Awards, and at the award ceremony in 1985 it also won the no longer awarded prize for the “most promising film newcomer” (for the supporting actor Haing S. Ngor ).

The most successful films to be awarded the prize in the Best British Film category are the historical dramas A Man in Every Season (awarded in 1968), The King's Speech (2011) and 1917 (2020), each with seven victories, each also in the Category Best Film . The same number of awards went to the historical film The Favorite in 2019 , which, like the historical drama Elizabeth (1999) and the science fiction thriller Gravity (2014), was not recognized as best film.

Most successful productions, which also triumphed in the BAFTA category “Best Film”
rank Movie Victories Award
01. Two bandits 9 1971
02. The Killing Fields - Screaming Land 8th 1985
03. A man in every season * 7th 1968
Cabaret 7th 1973
Schindler's List * 7th 1994
Slumdog Millionaire * 7th 2009
The King's Speech * 7th 2011
The Artist * 7th 2012
1917 7th 2020
011. Asphalt cowboy * 6th 1970
One flew over the cuckoo's nest * 6th 1977
The English patient * 6th 1997
American Beauty * 6th 2000
Deadly Command - The Hurt Locker * 6th 2010

* = Films that won the Oscar for best film .

Woody Allen is one of the most successful filmmakers in the history of the British Academy Film Awards . The films by the American director, screenwriter and actor (including the urban neurotic , Hannah and her sisters ) received over 59 nominations by 2014 and were awarded 18 prizes, including nine victories for Allen himself. In 1997, the American received the Academy Award Fellowship award. The Briton Sir Richard Attenborough was successful five times. He is the winner of the Actor Award as well as in the categories of film, directing, the Academy Fellowship (1983 for Gandhi ) and best British film (1994 for Shadowlands ).

The most successful actor is the Briton Peter Finch , who received five actor awards between 1957 and 1978, the last posthumously for his Oscar-winning role in Network .

The actresses are dominated by the two British actresses Judi Dench and Maggie Smith . Dench won six actor awards from 1966 to 2002 and received the 2001 Academy Fellowship . Smith received five Acting Awards between 1970 and 2000, a Lifetime Achievement Special, and the Academy Fellowship . The American Meryl Streep is the most frequently nominated film actress - between 1980 and 2017 she received 15 nominations in the two actor categories, but won the award only twice (1982 for The Beloved of the French Lieutenant and 2012 for The Iron Lady ).


Prizes are currently being awarded in 23 different categories, seven for film productions and 16 for the achievements of filmmakers. Only British productions may be proposed in the categories Best British Film , Best Young Talent , Best Short Film and Best Animated Short Film . In addition, there are some honorary or special prizes. The only audience award from sponsor Orange is the Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award (since 2013 EE Rising Star Award ), which is awarded to five international young actors in memory of casting director Mary Selway , who died in 2004 .

In 2012, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts reintroduced awards for feature-length documentaries. The category had been on the regular program from 1948 to 1990 before it was adopted by the British Academy Television Awards. Films from all countries should be able to qualify, provided that at least 15 productions apply. As with the animated feature films, three nominations are planned.

A casting agent category was last added to the program in 2020 . The BAFTA Awards followed the British Independent Film Awards and the Australian AACTA Awards , which added such a category in 2017 and 2018, respectively. A jury of eleven members, mostly made up of casting agents, but also made up of actors, film producers and agents, determined the nominees for the successful casting of an acting ensemble instead of just for main or supporting roles.

Movie categories

The British Stephen Fry , from 2001 to 2006 and again since 2012 host of the British Academy Film Awards
category Original designation awarded since
Best movie Best film 1948
Best British Film Outstanding British film 1948–1968, 1993–
Best documentary Best Documentary 1948–1990, 2012–
Best short film Best short film 1960
Best Non-English Language Film Best Film Not in the English Language 1983
Best animated feature film Best Animated Film 2007
Best animated short film Best short animation 1983


Brit Daniel Craig ( Casino Royale ) was the first James Bond actor to receive a BAFTA nomination
category Original designation awarded since
Best Actor Best leading actor 1969
Best main actress Best leading actress 1969
Best supporting actor Best Supporting Actor 1969
The best supporting actress Best Supporting Actress 1969
Best director Best Director 1969
Best film score Best Original Music 1969
Best camera Best Cinematography 1969
Best production design Best production design 1969
Best tone Best sound 1969
Best casting Best casting 2020
Best costumes Best costume design 1969
Best cut Best editing 1969
Best mask Best make-up & hair 1983
Best visual effects Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects 1983
Best original script Best Original Screenplay 1984
Best adapted script Best Adapted Screenplay 1984

Honor and special prizes

category Original designation awarded since
Honorary award Academy Fellowship 1971
Best British Contribution to Cinema Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema 1979
Best young talent Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer 1999
Best young actor EE Rising Star Award (formerly Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award) 2006

Former categories (selection)

Nomination and voting guidelines

Nomination guidelines

In 2013, British director Alan Parker was awarded the BAFTA's most important honorary award, the “Academy Fellowship”
The 14-year-old American Hailee Steinfeld was considered in 2011 as the youngest actress to date in the “Best Leading Actress” category

According to the current regulations, a feature film qualifies in the year preceding the award ceremony if it has a minimum running time of 60 minutes and had its first official theatrical release in Great Britain between January 1 and December 31. The film must have been shown for a fee in a public cinema in the UK for at least seven consecutive days. For film productions whose British theatrical release is scheduled for the year of the award ceremony between January and the beginning of February, distributors and producers have the opportunity to organize special screenings for Academy members who are entitled to vote. Proposals are submitted online. Films can be suggested by the distributor, the producer or a BAFTA member.

Each film can only qualify once. In the case of films in several language versions, only one, usually the original language version, is permitted. Films from all countries can be considered for the award categories, with the exception of the categories best British film, best young talent, best short film and best animated short film, in which only British productions may be proposed.

In addition to the regular prize categories, in which five nominees compete against each other, several honorary prizes are awarded. The most important honorary award is the Academy Fellowship (Academy membership) or Fellowship , which is awarded by the BAFTA Film Committee. The award goes to people who have made an exceptional contribution to cinema and who have a considerable work at their disposal. In 2013, this award went to British director Alan Parker . The film committee also awards the prize for the best British contribution to cinema, which is awarded in memory of film producer Michael Balcon (1896–1977). People are honored whose achievements cannot be considered in other film award categories. The film committee also decides on the nominations for the best British film category ( known as the Alexander Korda Award from 1993 to 2007 ). The classification is based on the criteria of the UK Film Council , the British Film Institute (BFI) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). According to this, films must have been made under the British official bilateral co-production agreements or meet the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production or the Cultural Test (Appendix 1 of the Film Act 1985 ).

A specially composed jury selects the winners in the category of best young talent (formerly known as the Carl Foreman Award ), for which British screenwriters, directors or producers of a feature or documentary film are qualified. The nominations for short films and animated short films are made by a separate jury. Only British productions can qualify if their running length including credits is max. 40 minutes.

In theory, all actors in a film can qualify for the main and supporting actor categories. BAFTA's voting system does not prohibit its voting members from nominating actors in either category. In most cases, the distributor or producer of a film will make suggestions in advance as to which category the actors should be included in. Actors are considered in the category in which they received the most votes in the first ballot. In 2011, the American Hailee Steinfeld ( True Grit ) was nominated for best leading actress, while she was considered for the best supporting female role at the Academy Awards .

Feature film productions that contain more than 50 percent non-English-language dialogues are considered foreign-language films.

Election and honor of the award winners

First ballot

The approximately 6,500 BAFTA members (including representatives from the television and video game industry) vote on films and filmmakers in three ballots in accordance with the 2011/2012 regulations. In the first round of voting, each member selects twelve films or filmmakers in each category. Categories in which the voting member does not feel qualified enough for an assessment can be left out. Similar to the Oscars, there is also a so-called “Chapter Voting” according to professional groups. In 2010 there were chapters for the following twelve film areas:

  • play
  • animation
  • camera
  • Costume design
  • Director
  • cut
  • Makeup image
  • music
  • Production design
  • script
  • volume
  • Visual effects

A chapter must have at least 80 members so that it can vote on the winner alone. If this is not the case, the decision in the last ballot is made by a jury of experts. In contrast to the individual BAFTA members, the chapters set an order of the twelve best filmmakers in descending order of performance from one to twelve. The votes of the individual members and chapters are evaluated in a "longlist" comprising around 250 films, in which the 15 films or filmmakers with the most votes are listed for each category. The five favorites of the chapters, depending on the category, automatically advance to the second round and are marked in the longlist, which is also publicly announced (in 2012 Dame, König, As, Spion and My Week with Marilyn led the favorites field with 16 entries each on the longlist on, 285 film productions were listed).

Second and third ballots

In a second ballot, the members from the longlist vote on five films or filmmakers per category, who ultimately receive an official nomination (in 2012, The Artist received the most nominations with twelve). The nominations will be announced by two British actors in the presence of the Chairman at BAFTA's London office approximately one month before the awards ceremony (in 2012 this was the responsibility of Holliday Grainger and Daniel Radcliffe ). All nominees receive an official nomination certificate. As with the Oscars, BAFTA organizes a joint meal for the nominees ("Nominee's Luncheon").

In a third ballot, all members vote on the winners in the categories of best film, documentary, non-English language film, British film, leading and supporting actors. In the other categories, the respective chapters choose the winners or a jury, provided that the required number of chapter members has not been reached (this usually consists of nine members). An exception to this approach can be found. a. in the Animated Feature Film category, where only three nominations are given. In the first ballot, the BAFTA members entitled to vote give five entries, in the second voting round three.

BAFTA members receive films i. d. Usually once as a DVD . Distributors and producers can send the academy members additional print information, but this is limited to max. two A4 pages. So-called "making of" books are not permitted.

The winners will be honored with a prize statuette, the so-called "BAFTA Mask" (BAFTA Mask) and a certificate of victory. The prize statuette is only given in the care of the winner or his descendants. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts remains the official owner. The Academy reserves the right to repurchase the BAFTA mask for the symbolic prize of one British pound should the prize leave the care of the winner or his descendants. The prize statuette may not be sold to a third person. BAFTA also does not make replicas of its statuettes and certificates, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has done in the past for its Oscar trophies.

See also

Web links

Commons : BAFTA Awards  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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