If you’re a fan of award ceremonies, you may already know the largest film awards outside the U.S. comes weeks before the Oscars. The 70th annual BAFTAs are this Sunday, February 12th, at the Royal Albert Hall and will be hosted by the beloved Stephen Fry for his 12th time and even include a performance by Cirque du Soleil. Although they are just as prestigious as the Oscars, they do not get as much attention on this side of the Atlantic.
Googling “Oscars vs. BAFTAs” produces some intriguing results, so let’s have a look at what to expect this Sunday evening.
First off, we’re all familiar with the Oscars -- they have their own season after all. This year, the 89th Oscars are scheduled for February 26th, 2017, 4:00 PM PST with first-time host Jimmy Kimmel. The buzz and excitement around what is “worth seeing” in theaters at the end of the year is just plain fun. And there’s always that one friend who tries to get you to watch every film nominated for “Best Picture” at the last minute.
But if you are a big fan of the Oscars, you probably want to check out the BAFTAs too. Many A-list Hollywood celebrities will be among the 2,000 international attendees, and BAFTA spares no expense when it comes to the ceremony. Just have a look at what is on the menu for those lucky enough to attend.
Founded in 1947, The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is a charity with the mission statement: “BAFTA identifies, rewards and celebrates excellence at its internationally-renowned, annual awards ceremonies whilst providing opportunities for the public to find information and inspiration through its year-round programme of events.” They not only host the film awards, but television, name, and children awards and many other events as well.
"The main difference is that five of the BAFTA film awards are specifically for British nominees."
With a similar structure and overlaps in nominees, the BAFTAs present 26 film awards and the Oscars present 24 total. The main difference is that five of the BAFTA film awards are specifically for British nominees. This year, the films La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, and Arrival are all nominated for Best Film at both award ceremonies.
Another similarity is the size of the membership. BAFTA membership numbers roughly 7,500 while the count of Academy Members is over 6,000. For those who may presume BAFTA is not as prestigious as the Academy, it is worth noting that the President of BAFTA is the Duke of Cambridge himself -- Prince William!
On the political side of things, this year BAFTA is concerned about actors using their acceptance speeches to speak out against newly-elected President Donald Trump and shifting the focus away from film awards. The BBC has specific rules about remaining impartial, and based on the 2017 Golden Globes and SAG winners’ speeches, American actors in particular may turn the ceremony more political than desired.
"The BAFTAs announced that by 2019 they will make it a requirement that BAFTA-nominated work “demonstrate inclusivity in their production practices.”
Still, BAFTA is not afraid to take a political stand. Since the lack of diversity was widely recognized and discussed for the 2016 Oscar nominations, the BAFTAs announced that by 2019 they will make it a requirement that BAFTA-nominated work “demonstrate inclusivity in their production practices.”
Check out and compare the BAFTAs with the Oscars this Sunday on BBC America and the red carpet event live streaming on Facebook. If you’re still undecided, these 100 BAFTA moments will get your feet wet!
We hope you enjoyed this article. Tweet us @Mediasilo to give us your thoughts on the BAFTAS.