BAFTA has updated its campaigning rules for next year’s film awards, and is “having conversations internally” about reviewing its theatrical eligibility rules for 2025 following the Oscars’ expanded geographic criteria requirements.
The British Academy revealed its new rules for the 2024 awards on Wednesday, with stricter regulations around campaigning — particularly in relation to social media — and a new bullying and harassment policy for U.K.-based productions.
Speaking to Variety, BAFTA also revealed that it’s debating changes for the 2025 awards, for which the eligibility period begins in January.
In June, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed a host of new theatrical release requirements for movies to qualify as best picture nominees for the 2025 Oscars. In addition to the standard one-week run in one of six U.S. markets, films released in 2024 will also require an expanded theatrical run of seven days, consecutive or non-consecutive, in 10 of the top 50 U.S. markets, no later than 45 days after its initial release. U.K. industry insiders have been tracking whether BAFTA — which reviews its awards rules annually after each season — may follow suit to make its own theatrical rules less London-centric.
Emma Baehr, executive director of awards and content at BAFTA, told Variety on Wednesday that the org is now “having conversations internally and are considering it.”
As part of the updated 2024 guidance, BAFTA has instituted a new requirement for U.K.-based productions to have a policy in place to tackle bullying and harassment if entering into the Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut of a British Writer, Director or Producer categories.
Elsewhere, BAFTA’s Best Director category will also include helmers who identify as non-binary. This follows on from the sweeping 2020 diversity review, which applied a “positive intervention” for female directors submitting into director category, and allowed for a 50:50 gender split for male and female directors in the longlisting stage. The org says this had a “very positive” effect on the number of female directors nominated and winning in the category compared to past years. As such, that stage can now include non-binary directors as well.
The org is also printing a new handbook for members and entrants that includes detailed guidance and regulations on awards campaigning.
Read on for specific changes to the film awards rules:
Detailed guidance and regulations on campaigning, hosting screenings and communicating with voters is now set out in a dedicated handbook for entrants and BAFTA members. A significant tightening of the rules around campaigning were last introduced as part of the 2020 BAFTA review to “ensure a fair and equitable process for entrants regardless of their origin, networks or marketing and PR budget.”
New rules around social media will now restrict voters from being specific about their voting intentions online in order to avoid undue influence.
Meanwhile, BAFTA has also said that while private screenings in private residences are permitted, “entrants are not permitted to organize, fund or promote these private screenings, and as they are not considered a FYC screening, use of the BAFTA mailing list is not permitted to invite members to attend.”
U.K.-based productions will be required to have a policy in place on tackling bullying and harassment if entering into the Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer categories. To support this rule change going forwards, free guidance and policy templates will be available on Creative U.K. in the coming weeks. This new intervention, announced in December 2022, forms part of ongoing cross-sector activity.
U.K.-based productions will be required to provide information about meeting BFI’s new Diversity Standards as BAFTA’s eligibility for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut transitions from a minimum of two (Standard C + 1) to the BFI’s new diversity standards requirement to include Standard E (accessibility).
Following BAFTA’s introduction of the BFI Diversity Standards in 2019 and AMPAS’ introduction of new Inclusion Standards for its Best Picture category from 2024 onwards, BAFTA will be monitoring the film industry’s progress on diversity and inclusion internationally.
Specific category changes – Director
BAFTA’s 2020 Review included a positive intervention for female directors submitting into the BAFTA Film Awards Director category, allowing for a 50:50 gender split for male and female directors in the longlisting stage (16 in total). The org says this had a “very positive” effect on the number of female directors nominated and winning in the category compared to past years. The intervention is now being evolved to include directors who identify as non-binary.
For 2024, the top female, male and directors who identify as non-binary will be longlisted to a maximum of 17, with gender parity between male and female directors upheld. In the nominating round, the number of nominated directors will remain at six.
BAFTA View, the academy’s online viewing platform launched in 2020, removed the high cost of supplying DVDs to BAFTA’s 7,500 voting global membership. It will continue to be mandatory for all films in contention to be available on BAFTA View ahead of Round One voting. Ongoing upgrades to BAFTA View will enable the platform to offer all entrants the chance to provide films in 4K and 5.1 sound for the first time, however watching films at the cinema or via BAFTA’s in-person official screening programme will continue to be the encouraged primary method of viewing for voters.
Key BAFTA dates are below:
• Friday, Dec. 8 – Round One voting opens
• Friday, Jan. 5 – Longlists published; Round Two voting opens
• Saturday, Jan. 6 – The BAFTA Tea Party in Los Angeles
• Thursday, Jan. 18 – Nominations announced; Round Three opens
• Sunday, Feb. 18 – BAFTA Film Awards
Naman Ramachandran contributed to this story.