OR: BAFTA in numbers
Yesterday, for the first time I watched the BAFTA. And it was not only the first time I watched the british awards, but the it was the first time I’ve ever watched ANY kind of film/television award. Given that moving picture is a great part of my life, I’d say it was about time.
How was it? As any first time, it was fast, slightly amusing and with a lot of afterthought. Fry provided a big part of the amusing bit, especially when whipped pretentious David O. Russell’s English, while Cate Blanchett’s homage to Philip Seymour Hoffman made my icy heart melt a little bit. In terms of show, I found it compelling, fast paced and rightly star packed.
But let’s put aside the fluff and consider the reason we were all sitting in front of a luminescent rectangle for: the awards. Oh, awards… Rinding in tandem with the Winter Olympics, TV is overflowing with competition’s juices. The trill of the race, the adrenaline flowing, the house wrecking bets on with which actress/swedish snowboarder deserves to climb the podium (or has the best pair of breasts). Let’s admit it, we all live to point our big fat thumb up or down, and see the winning gladiator raise his sword and cut off that looser’s head.
And here is were the BAFTA disappointed me the most. I may repeat the words of whom, before me, has seen this awards many times, but people: are we kidding? A handful of movies steals away all the prizes and all the fun! Good movies and undoubtedly excelling in the categories in which they have been nominated/awarding.
Since I like numbers, I’ve taken out my calculator and pushed a couple of buttons. If some of the data/consideration is wrong, please don’t kill me but kindly point it out, and I’ll fix it.
In 2012, 647 films were released for a week or more in the UK and Republic of Ireland. I can assume a similar number was released in 2013.
275 were the entries for the BAFTA, which means around one third of the movies screened in the UK.
BAFTA gives 24 awards, one Academy Fellowship (to Helen Mirren) and one BAFTA Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award (to Peter Greenaway, yay!!!).
For my calculation I’ve divided the awards in 2 categories: 18 “That’s what we want to see awards”, which were divided by a share of film, and “Other stuff awards” (Animated film, Documentary, Foreign film, Short animation, Short film) which doesn’t mean were less inter ending but that were not comparable in terms of nominations with the previous categories. I’ve also excluded EE Rising Star Award (won by adorable Will Poulter, which starred in Wild Bill – watch it!).
So, of 275 entries only 48 movies were nominated. Further more almost half of the entries were divided into 5 categories (with only “The act of killing” nominated twice), while the other half competed for the 18 remaining awards. This means that basically, 28 movies out of 275 (1 to of ten) made it under the spotlight.
Here is a little hand made chart:
28 films is not a bad number however, but when we look the distribution of nominations (91 in total), we see that only a handful of films collected almost half the nominations:
And when it comes to the awards, Gravity + American Hustle collect HALF of the “That’s what we want to see” awards, with 12 years a slave stealing the juicy ones (Best film and Best actor). Here is another chart – and yes, I have chicken writing – showing the distribution of film/awards.
Did the winning movies deserve the nomination/awards? Yes, I think so. Were the nominated/winning movies the only choices? I don’t know, but maybe not. I don’t know the eligibility of the entries for each category (e.g. how many shorts, etc), but I ask myself if, out of 275, there were only 28 feature films in the English language worth of nomination, even in one little category.
I understand why only a handful of movies catches the jury attention, and maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part that even this more formal awards – and not only the indie ones – would give more space to the unexpected, the innovative, the different.