BAFTA Unveils Voting Rules and Eligibility Tweaks for 2023 Film Awards, Sets Date for Nominations

The British Academy has made a series of tweaks to the voting rules and eligibility criteria for its 2023 BAFTA film awards, all part of what it calls a continued evolution following the major overhaul that followed the 2020 review. 

BAFTA has also confirmed the dates for its initial longlist and nominations announcements, ahead of the ceremony on Feb. 19 (moved back earlier in the year from its April date). The longlist will be unveiled on Jan. 6, 2023, following by nominations on Jan. 19. 

Some of the most noticeable changes for BAFTA voters have been put in place due to the earlier dates, with fewer films being longlisted in several categories to ensure people have time to watch them. The longlists for best film and all craft categories have come down from 15 to 10 titles; outstanding British film is now 15 instead of 20, and the director category is reduced from 20 to 16 (eight female- and eight male-directed features). The longlists for outstanding debut, British short film and British short animation categories, however, will remain unchanged at 10, 10 and 6, respectively.

“We’re really pleased we’re back in February, back in normality of the season, but we’ve introduced that third [longlist] round so there’s a practical side of making sure that everyone who’s voting — whether that’s the juries, the members or the chapters — have time to consider all the films,” Emma Baehr, BAFTA’s executive director of awards and content, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Elsewhere, the following rule changes have been made:

  • Performance: The top three performances in all four performance categories in the round one chapter voting will be automatically nominated, up from two in 2022. The longlisting and nominating jury process remains the same as last year, with the nominating jury selecting the remaining three places on the nominations list (down from four last year) — with the total nominations staying the same at a total of six per category. 
  • Director: The top two directors (regardless of gender) from the round one chapter vote will automatically be nominated. The top five female and top five male directors will be longlisted. The longlisting jury will select the remaining three female and three male directors to create a longlist of 16 (equal gender split). In round two, the nominating jury will select four directors to join the two automatically nominated in Round One, creating a nominations list of six. 
  • Make Up & Hair: Eligible candidates for nomination will remain at head of department-level. Additional candidates may be submitted — up to a strict maximum of four nominees. 
  • Producers: Producers eligible for nomination in the best film and outstanding British film categories are as determined by the PGA. From 2023, the PGA will also determine eligible producers in the animated film, documentary, and film not in the English language categories. In these three categories, if the PGA has not determined the eligible producers, the maximum number of eligible producers will remain at one (along with the director), without appeal. 
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Given BAFTAs new dates for 2023, the eligibility period during which films must be released theatrically in the U.K. for the first time, will run from Jan. 1, 2022 to Feb. 17, 2023 for all films, except for those eligible for documentary and film not in the English language. These can be released up to and including March 10, 2023. While day and date releases are eligible, VOD-only releases, as per usual, are not. 

BAFTA is also once again insisting that all films screen on its BAFTA View streaming platform, introduced in 2021 as part of its ambition to give titles an even chance among voters and phase out DVDs. Last year, this resulted in Spider-Man: No Way Home not being eligible, with Sony failing to make the film available on BAFTA View. 

“I know the studios are committed to BAFTA View,” said Baehr. “It’s mandatory, and that’s part of leveling the playing so everything’s available, including the smaller, independent films.”