Bafta announces significant changes to awards to address lack of diversity

(Image credit: BAFTA)

Following the Oscars making unprecedented changes to their rules, the Baftas has pledged to significantly alter its membership and nominees in an attempt to diversify the awards. 

One of the biggest changes comes in the acting and directing categories: each one will feature six nominees instead of the usual five. The directing award – which has been dominated unfairly by male directors for years – will also see a minimum of 10 female filmmakers appear in the long-list of 20. From there, voters will whittle that number down to just six nominees. 

Only six women have ever made the shortlist in the Baftas' 73 years of activity, and only one, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010, has ever won.

There has also been a big change to the outstanding British film award, which will expand from just six potential nominees to 10. Bafta also notes that it is now "compulsory for all voters, chapters, and juries to watch all longlisted films". The board also announced that they will "meaningfully target" 1,000 new voting members, with an emphasis on recruiting from under-represented groups.

“This is a watershed moment for Bafta. The Academy has never opened itself up like this before," the organisation's chair, Krishnendu Majumdar, said. "Representation matters and we’ve all been starkly reminded of this with the rise of the global anti-racist movement. This creative renewal is not just about changes to the awards and membership – this is a reappraisal of our values and the culture of Bafta. We want long term and sustainable change throughout the industry."

The Bafta film committee chair, Marc Samuelson, added: "One of the key issues raised time and time again throughout the process was that too much deserving work was not being seen. The changes we are implementing are designed to ensure these films are seen and judged on merit alone."

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.