British Academy Film Awards
|British Academy Film Awards|
BAFTA awards mask at Piccadilly, London
|Awarded for||The best in film|
The British Academy Film Awards, more commonly known as the BAFTA Film Awards is a highly prestigious annual award show hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) to honor the best British and international contributions to film. There is a long tradition of royal involvement with the academy, with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh its first president and continuing to William, Prince of Wales who became its fifth president in 2010.
The first BAFTA Awards ceremony was held in 1949, and the ceremony was first broadcast on the BBC in 1956 with Vivien Leigh as the host. The ceremony was initially held in April or May; since 2001, it typically takes place in February prior to the Academy Awards. The awards are in the form of a theatrical mask.
Begun by a group of film directors and other major figures of the British film industry, the initial organization was established to recognize those who contributed outstanding creative work towards the advancement of British film. Today, the BAFTAs support and promote excellence in the film, television and games industries.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) was founded in 1947 as The British Film Academy. A group of directors, David Lean, Alexander Korda, Roger Manvell, Laurence Olivier, Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell, Michael Balcon, Carol Reed, and other major figures of the British film industry, gathered in a room at the Hyde Park Hotel on April 16, 1947. Film director David Lean was appointed Chairman. Their fundamental aim was "to recognise those who had contributed outstanding creative work towards the advancement of British film."
The first Film Awards ceremony took place in May 1949, honoring the films The Best Years of Our Lives, Odd Man Out and The World Is Rich.
The Guild of Television Producers and Directors had been set up in 1953 with its first awards ceremony in October 1954. In 1958 the Guild merged with the British Film Academy to form the Society of Film and Television Arts, whose inaugural meeting was held at Buckingham Palace.
The Society of Film and Television became The British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1976.
Today, the awards are in the form of a theatrical mask, designed by American sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe, in response to a commission from the Guild of Television Producers in 1955.
The Society of Film and Television Arts acquired the historic Prince's Hall facilities at 195 Piccadilly, following the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours' move to the Mall Galleries. Queen Elizabeth, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Princess Royal, and The Earl Mountbatten of Burma officially opened the organization's headquarters in 1976, and officially became the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in March 1976.
In the late 1960s Sir David Lean typed a letter to the members of the Academy, outlining his feelings about donating profits from his films Dr Zhivago (1965) and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) to the British Film Academy. In it he described the early days:
At one of our early meetings Alex [Sir Alexander Korda] said he could not only see the day when we could hire the Albert Hall for award ceremonies – at which we all chuckled politely – but that we should aim at the purchase of a building where we could show films, eat, drink and talk with our fellow film makers at we should aim at the purchase of a building where we could show films, eat, drink and talk with our fellow film makers.
The original letter was displayed on the second floor of 195 Piccadilly prior to its refurbishment, where Academy Members regularly watch films, eat, drink and talk with their fellow industry peers – just as Lean and his colleagues imagined.
In 2016, BAFTA embarked in an extensive renovation of the Grade II listed property into an internationally recognized center of excellence with state-of-the-art technology and facilities. Benedetti Architects oversaw a £33M+ remodel, doubling its original capacity with the addition of an additional floor, raising and restoring two large Victorian rooflight structures and decorative plasterwork, creating an entire floor devoted to BAFTA’s learning and new talent programed, and a fully reimagining the property's food, beverage, and events operations in order to maximize revenue to sustain property maintenance and operations. The new facilities were formally reopened in 2022.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent trade association and charity "that works throughout the year to support and promote the next generation of talent and break down the barriers that make it hard for talented individuals to build careers in the creative industries."
BAFTA's mission is defined by excellence:
Excellence. In a word, this is what the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is all about, through its support, promotion and development of the film, television and games industries. We celebrate it, through our internationally renowned Awards ceremonies. We champion it, through an array of events, platforms and forums with the best practitioners in the business. We nurture it, through our innovative new and aspiring talent initiatives. We safeguard it, through our invaluable heritage work. And, as the leading UK charity supporting the moving image art forms, we actively promote it for the benefit and appreciation of all.
BAFTA is a membership organization comprising individuals worldwide who are creatives and professionals working in and making a contribution to the film, television and games industries in the UK.
BAFTA does not receive any funding from the government; it relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work.
Learning events and initiatives
In addition to its high-profile awards ceremonies, BAFTA manages a year-round program of educational events and initiatives including film screenings and Q&As, tribute evenings, interviews, lectures, and debates with major industry figures.
BAFTA runs a number of scholarship programs across the UK, United States, and Asia.
Launched in 2012, the UK program enables talented British citizens who are in need of financial support to take an industry-recognized course in film, television or games in the UK. Each BAFTA Scholar receives up to £12,000 towards their annual course fees, and mentoring support from a BAFTA member and free access to BAFTA events around the UK. Since 2013, three students every year have received one of the Prince William Scholarships in Film, Television and Games, supported by BAFTA and Warner Bros. These scholarships are awarded in the name of William, Prince of Wales in his role as president of BAFTA.
In the U.S., BAFTA Los Angeles offers financial support and mentorship to British graduate students studying in the US, as well as scholarships to provide financial aid to local LA students from the inner city. BAFTA New York's Media Studies Scholarship Program, set up in 2012, supports students pursuing media studies at undergraduate and graduate level institutions within the New York City area and includes financial aid and mentoring opportunities.
Since 2015, BAFTA has been offering scholarships for British citizens to study in China, and vice versa.
William, Prince of Wales has been the President of the Academy since February 2010. David Parfitt, Chair of BAFTA, noted:
The Academy has had a long association with the Royal Family and we are absolutely delighted that Prince William has agreed to become our President. Our outgoing President, Lord Attenborough, who has been the most extraordinary supporter of the Academy, extended the invitation to Prince William himself and he is as thrilled as I am that he accepted.
The Prince's appointment the tradition of royal involvement with the academy, becoming the the fifth President in the Academy's history. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh made the decision to gift the royalties from Richard Cawston's documentary Royal Family to the SFTA in the early 1970s, enabling the organization to move from its office suite in Great Portland Street, London, to 195 Piccadilly. Prince Philip was the first president of the Society of Film and Television Arts (SFTA) in 1959 to 1965, followed by Earl Mountbatten of Burma and the Princess Royal, who was its president from 1972 to 2001. Over the course of her 30-year involvement with the Academy, Princess Anne helped increase the stature of the organization in the UK and internationally. In 2001, when she stepped down as president, BAFTA was an international organization, with branches in New York and Los Angeles, as well as Scotland and Wales. The Princess Anne Theatre at 195 Piccadilly was named in her honor. The Prince of Wales succeeded Lord Attenborough who served from 2001 to 2010.
BAFTA presents awards for film, television and games, including children's entertainment, at a number of annual ceremonies across the UK and in Los Angeles.
In order for a film to be considered for a BAFTA nomination, its first public exhibition must be displayed in a cinema and it must have a UK theatrical release for no fewer than seven days of the calendar year that corresponds to the upcoming awards. A movie must be of feature-length and movies from all countries are eligible in all categories, with the exception of the Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut which are for British films or individuals only.
The BAFTA award trophy is a mask, designed by American sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe. The mask, though based on the traditional concept of the theatrical tragicomic mask, it is more complex than its immediate front facial appearance suggests. The hollow reverse of the mask bears an electronic symbol around one eye and a screen symbol around the other, linking dramatic production and television technology.
The BAFTA trophy – including the bronze mask and marble base – weighs 3.7 kilograms (8.2 lb) and measures 27 centimeters (11 in) high × 14 centimeters (5.5 in) wide × 8 centimeters (3.1 in) deep; the mask itself measures 16 centimeters (6.3 in) high × 14 centimeters (5.5 in) wide. They are made of phosphor bronze and cast in a Middlesex foundry.
BAFTA TV Awards
The BAFTA TV Awards, or British Academy Television Awards are presented in an annual award show hosted by the BAFTA. They have been awarded annually since 1955. They are the equivalent of the Primetime Emmy Awards in the United States.
The first-ever Awards, given in 1955, consisted of six categories. Until 1958, they were awarded by the Guild of Television Producers and Directors. From 1958 onwards, after the Guild had merged with the British Film Academy, the organization was known as the Society of Film and Television Arts. In 1976, this became the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
From 1968 until 1997, the BAFTA Film and Television awards were presented in one joint ceremony known simply as the BAFTA Awards, but in order to streamline the ceremonies from 1998 onwards they were split in two. The Television Awards are usually presented in April, with a separate ceremony for the Television Craft Awards on a different date. The Craft Awards are presented for more technical areas of the industry, such as special effects, production design, or costumes.
The Awards are only open to British programs—with the exception of the audience-voted Audience Award and the International Award (this is for a single program or series acquired from the international marketplace, covering all genres)—but any cable, satellite, terrestrial or digital television stations broadcasting in the UK are eligible to submit entries, as are independent production companies who have produced programming for the channels.
There are also a number of non-competitive honorary Awards—the Dennis Potter Award for Outstanding Writing for Television; the Alan Clarke Award for Outstanding Creative Contribution to Television; the Richard Dimbleby Award for Outstanding Presenter in the Factual Arena; the Fellowship for individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to television across their careers, and various Special Awards given on an ad hoc basis. These Awards are suggested by the Television Committee and awarded by the Academy's Council. They are not necessarily always given every year, but as and when appropriate.
The Awards ceremony is broadcast on British television, usually the day after it has taken place. Between 1998 and 2006, it was alternated between ITV and BBC One. But since 2007, it has been broadcast by BBC One.
BAFTA Fellowship Awards
In 1971, the Fellowship Award was introduced to "recognise the very highest standards of work in film and/or television." The first award was presented by Princess Anne to Alfred Hitchcock. In 1971, the year that the SFTA was renamed BAFTA, the first BAFTA Fellowship Award was presented by Princess Anne to Sir Charles Chaplin.
BAFTA Student Film Awards
BAFTA also hosts the annual BAFTA Student Film Awards as showcase for rising industry talent. The animation award was sponsored in 2017 and 2018 by animation studio Laika.
BAFTA Cymru Awards
BAFTA Cymru (or BAFTA in Wales) is the Welsh branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and was founded in 1987.
Its first annual awards ceremony was held in 1992. The annual ceremony takes place in Cardiff to recognize achievement in production, performance and craft categories in Welsh-made films and television programs and by those of Welsh birth or residence. These are separate from the UK-wide British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Film Awards, although films and programs recognized by BAFTA Cymru may also feature at BAFTA's national awards.
BAFTA in Scotland
BAFTA in Scotland is the Scottish branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Formed in 1986, the branch holds two annual awards ceremonies recognizing the achievement by performers and production staff in Scottish film, television, and video games. These Awards are separate from the British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Film Awards.
The British Academy Scotland Awards are presented in an annual award show hosted by BAFTA Scotland. From 2011 to 2018, the ceremony has taken place in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow. As of 2019, the ceremony has been hosted at the Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Central.
The British Academy Scotland New Talent Awards are presented in an annual award show hosted by BAFTA Scotland. The accolades honor the best upcoming talent in the field of film and television in Scotland.
BAFTA's annual film awards ceremony is known as the British Academy Film Awards, or "the BAFTAs," and reward the best work of any nationality seen on British cinema screens during the preceding year. In 1949 the British Film Academy, as it was then known, presented the first awards for films made in 1947 and 1948.
The award ceremony is held in London. In the twenty-first century, the ceremony was held in the Odeon cinema on Leicester Square until 2008. The ceremony was then held at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden. From 2017 to 2022, the BAFTA ceremony was held at the Royal Albert Hall.
For the 76th British Academy Film Awards in 2023, it was announced that the ceremony would be moved to its new home, The Southbank Centre’s monumental Royal Festival Hall, as part of a new multi-year deal between BAFTA and the Southbank Centre, bringing the Film Awards in-line with the British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Games Awards, which were already held there.
The ceremony previously took place in April or May, but since 2001 it has been held in February in order to precede the Academy Awards (Oscars), even though it is not a precursor to the Academy.
During each annual ceremony, BAFTA pauses in memoriam to pay tribute to those in the industry who have died over the past 12 months, showcasing a montage of images accompanied by music.
The Awards ceremony is delayed broadcast on British television the same evening, and across the world. The first broadcast was on the BBC in 1956, with Vivien Leigh (who would present an award to her husband Sir Laurence Olivier) as the host. It has been broadcast in color since 1970. In the US it is broadcast on BBC America.
- BAFTA Award for Best Film: since 1948
- BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film: 1948-1968, 1992-present
- BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language: since 1983
- BAFTA Award for Best Documentary: 1948–1989, 2012-present
- BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film: since 2006
- BAFTA Award for Best Short Film: since 1980
- BAFTA Award for Best Short Animation: since 1990
- BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer: since 1998
- BAFTA Award for Best Direction: since 1968
- BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay: since 1984
- BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay: since 1984
- BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role: since 1968
- BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role: since 1968
- BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role: since 1969
- BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role: since 1969
- BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography: since 1969
- BAFTA Award for Best Editing: since 1968
- BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design: since 1969
- BAFTA Award for Best Production Design: since 1969
- BAFTA Award for Best Makeup and Hair: since 1983
- BAFTA Award for Best Original Music: since 1969
- BAFTA Award for Best Sound: since 1969
- BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects: since 1983
- BAFTA Award for Best Casting: since 2020
- BAFTA Rising Star Award: since 2006
- BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles (awarded 1952–1984)
- BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay (awarded 1955–1968)
- BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay (awarded 1969–1983)
- BAFTA Award for Best British Actor (awarded 1952–1967)
- BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor (awarded 1952–1967)
- BAFTA Award for Best British Actress (awarded 1952–1967)
- BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress (awarded 1952–1967)
- BAFTA Award for Best Original Song (awarded 1983–1985)
- BAFTA Award for Best Factual Film
- BAFTA Award for Best Fictional Film
- BAFTA Award for Best Short Factual Film
- BAFTA Award for Best Specialised Film
- BAFTA John Grierson Award
- BAFTA United Nations Award (awarded 1949–1976)
- BAFTA Fellowship (since 1971)
- Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award (known as the Michael Balcon Award from 1979 to 2006).
- History of BAFTA BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- Emma Pett and Helen Warner, The Invisible Institution? Reconstructing the History of BAFTA and the 1958 Merger of the British Film Academy with the Guild of Television Producers and Directors Journal of British Cinema and Television 17(4) (October 2020): 449-472. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- BAFTA Awards IMDb. Retrieved June 21, 2023.
- Mitzi Cunliffe and the BAFTA Mask BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- Sir David Lean's Letter to the Academy BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- BAFTA 195 Piccadilly Inited-design Partnership. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- BAFTA Headquarters Benedetti Architects. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- Refurbishment of Iconic BAFTA at 195 Piccadilly Reaches Completion Harley Haddow. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- Support BAFTA BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- Mission BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- About BAFTA Membership BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- BAFTA Guru BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- BAFTA YouTube. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- BAFTA and Warner Bros. to Support New Prince William Scholarships in Film, Television and Games BAFTA (April 26, 2013). Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- US Scholarships BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- BAFTA Awards Scholarships To Students In The UK And US BAFTA (September 16, 2015). Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- Prince William to become President of BAFTA The Royal Household (February 21, 2010). Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- The Royal Family and the Academy BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- BAFTA 195 Piccadilly Unique Venues of London. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- Bafta masks: The foundry that makes bronze trophies BBC News (February 1, 2020). Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- Ellis Clopton, BAFTA Announces Finalists for 2018 Student Film Awards Variety (May 22, 2018). Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- About BAFTA Cymru BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- BAFTA Scotland Awards BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- EE British Academy Film Awards BAFTA. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- Joe Alvarez and Tamara A. Orlova, Royal BAFTAs Ikon London Magazine (February 13, 2017). Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- BAFTA unveils new home of the EE BAFTA Film Awards: London’s iconic Royal Festival Hall as entries open for 2023 BAFTA (September 21, 2022). Retrieved June 23, 2023.
ReferencesISBN links support NWE through referral fees
- Bell, Melanie. Movie Workers: The Women Who Made British Cinema. University of Illinois Press, 2021. ISBN 978-0252085864
- Lindsay, Brian. Film Awards: A Reference Guide to US & UK Film Awards Volume One 1927/8-1959. Tranter Ward Books, 2017. ISBN 978-0980490947
- Lindsay, Brian. Film Awards: A Reference Guide to US & UK Film Awards Volume Four 2000-2019. Tranter Ward Books, 2020. ISBN 978-0980490978
- Williams, Melanie. David Lean (British Film-Makers). Manchester University Press, 2017. ISBN 978-1526116819
All links retrieved November 21, 2023.
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