BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry calls this year’s nominations a “wide-open race”.
BAFTA executives have hailed this year’s nominations as a “terrific, diverse and eclectic selection”.
BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry told Screen that the hallmark of this year’s crop is its “international” character: “This is a really international year,” she said. “It’s great to see an even distribution of nominations making for a wide open race. There is a great diversity of subject matters. We have some very strong British productions nominated, and they include great international talent.”
Chair of the film committee Nik Powell commented: “This year’s nominations are a terrific, diverse, eclectic selection of master filmmakers. It’s important to note that outside of the foreign film category we have great internationalism on display. These awards are now truly international and the BAFTA voters are seeing such a range of films. From musicals, to visual spectaculars, biopics and hard hitting true stories, there is a real range.”
In a year short on major shocks, perhaps the biggest surprise among the UK film industry has been the shutouts of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers and Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio, both of which received multiple nominations at this year’s BIFAs.
Actor-writer Simon Pegg said on Twitter: “Very sad to see that Sightseers miss out on a BAFTA nod. As is often the case, edgy + comedy + beloved cult fav = thoroughly ignored.”
While Powell added that he didn’t think this was a year for “surprises”, he admitted that both films were likely “near-misses”: “I’m sure we’ll see the likes of Ben Wheatley and Peter Strickland at the BAFTAs in years to come. They must be among the near-misses.”
This is the first year the BAFTA nominations have been announced the day before the Oscar nominations, with the AMPAS shifting their announcement date in order to stay ahead of the Golden Globes ceremony which takes place this Sunday [Jan 13].
Berry admitted that the timing wasn’t ideal: “In a perfect world we’d have longer between the two announcements. There used to be a week between. But I’m hoping this will lead to more comparison pieces between the two awards.”
Powell also said he thought the proximity could work in Bafta’s favour: “It is now tighter. But the profile of the BAFTAs can be enhanced by this. It’s swings and roundabouts but it can work in our favour.”
Berry said BAFTA would consider any potential move in the nominations-announcement date once the awards ceremony is over.
She added that the response from BAFTA members to this year’ altered voting procedures had been largely positive: “We’ve had a very positive response from BAFTA members about the voting process. The two-round system has gone down very well. We’ve been doing online voting for 10 years and our system gets better and better. Our voters feel increasingly enfranchised by the changes.”
That being said, some industry members that Screen spoke to were unconvinced by some of the changes. One sales company exec echoed the theme when she took to Twitter to express dismay at not being able to vote in some of the ‘craft’ categories at the earliest stage.