For an indication of how important the BAFTA film awardshave become, look no further than this year's campaign trail.
The scramble for BAFTAs started inearnest on August 31, when the
By the end of October, the lobbying was already at feverpitch. Scores of screenings have been set up and talent present for awards Q&As have included Keira Knightley and Joe Wright for Pride And Prejudice (another August 31 invite), AngLee for Brokeback
There are myriad reasons for BAFTA'sincreasing international clout: the split of the film and TV awards in 1998, thegrowing importance of the international box office - and
"It wasn't just the move," says BAFTA CEO
Communication with the industry is key.Academy principals have long been heading to
Penetration has certainlyrocketed. The ceremony is screened in 169 territories worldwide, compared withthe 194 territories for the Oscars. "Three or four years ago it went out in the
The amount of stars working thered carpet at BAFTA can certainly rival the Oscars and the goodie bags for presenters andnominees are certainly glitzy: first class flights, cellphones,jewellery, free trips to exclusive desert island resorts.
But BAFTA is not an Oscar clone. When nominees take theirseats at
"When people show up they just have a very good time," saysDavid Parfitt. "And word goes around the artists, thePRs and so on. We're holding our own against theOscars."
The BAFTAs also have their owncharacter (see sidebar). "Winning a BAFTA actually means something," says Kenworthy. "We've got a reputation for being serious andthoughtful about our choices. Awards ceremonies aren't just about glitz andglamour. From our point of view they're about motivation."
The academy introduced compulsory voting last year and thisyear launches a new award in conjunction with its headline sponsor
With three months to go, until the end of third round votingthere is still no clear frontrunners. Many films are yet to be seen, andscreeners - so influential in awards campaigns - are yet to start hitting BAFTAs doormats.