BAFTA Outlines Rules & Eligibility For 2022 Film Awards: Theatrical Requirement Returns; Tweaks To Voting & Outstanding Debut Category

BAFTA has confirmed its eligibility criteria for the 2022 awards season. Key takeaways include a theatrical requirement returning for films released after July 1 this year, further relaxing of the rules covering Outstanding Debut, and various tweaks to the voting processes, all of which are outlined below.

The general theme of this year’s changes is finessing the process rather than wholesale change. BAFTA enacted 120 total changes to its eligibility criteria and voting system last year in a bid to address long-standing issues. Those changes had a significant impact, with the 2021 crop of nominations being hailed as far more representative.

Overall, this season’s eligibility period runs January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 (with a few exceptions), and is divided into two distinct segments.

Films released January 1 – July 1, 2021, are eligible if they meet the relaxed criteria that BAFTA enacted for the previous awards season in recognition of the challenges presented by the pandemic. That means films that had a qualifying release on an approved UK VOD platform, because their theatrical release was disrupted by lockdown, can be eligible.

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From July 1, 2021 to March 11, 2022, the theatrical requirement returns. Films will be eligible if they have been theatrically exhibited publicly to a paying audience on at least ten commercial screens in the UK for at least seven days in aggregate (excluding festival screenings).

Several categories have slightly different criteria.

The Documentary and Film Not in the English Language categories will continue to have a lower qualifying threshold and an extended eligibility period. These films can be entered into all categories if they have been exhibited publicly on at least one commercial screen in the UK for no fewer than seven days in aggregate (not including festival screenings); and their eligibility period runs for slightly longer, until March 31 2022.

For documentaries, films commissioned (not acquired) by a broadcaster or streamer will need to appeal to the Film Committee to be considered for entry to the Film Awards.

The Outstanding Debut category also has the lower qualifying threshold (one commercial screen in the UK for no fewer than seven days) but entrants may also qualify by screening at festivals outlined on BAFTA’s Debut Qualifying Festival List, or by being released outside of the UK, opening up the field to a greater number of titles.

Voting Tweaks

Several updates have also been made to the voting process, as outlined below.

Director: the directing chapter will continue to vote in Round One for their top 20; of these the top seven male and female directors will be automatically longlisted, with the remaining three male and three female directors selected by the longlisting jury (previously the longlisting jury put through two male and two female directors to add to eight male and female directors voted for by the directing chapter). The voting process in Round Two and Three remain unchanged.

Performance categories: the top two performances in each of the four acting categories voted for by the acting chapter in Round One will be automatically nominated, otherwise the longlisting and nominating jury process introduced for the 2021 Awards will continue. Headshots of performers will also be published on BAFTA View for the first time.

Documentary: Round One voting will continue to be carried out by the Documentary opt-in chapter to create the longlist of 15 titles with the top two from this round being automatically nominated. This year a specialist jury is also being introduced for Round Two, to vote for the remaining three nominees. The winner will continue to be selected by the opt-in chapter (previously the opt-in chapter determined all nominations after Round One).

Sound: Films longlisted for Sound are invited to submit an eight-minute clip (unedited from the film) to be shown to Sound chapter members at 195 Piccadilly ahead of the Round Two nominations voting deadline for the Sound chapter.

As previously announced, 2022 will be the first year DVDs are no longer permitted. BAFTA said it has upgraded its streaming platform BAFTA View this season to improve functionality, Hard of Hearing subtitles are also now mandatory for all films. Last year saw a total of 160,000 streams cross BAFTA View.

BAFTA undertakes a review each year in consultation with industry to decide on any tweaks to its criteria.

This year’s BAFTA Longlist will be published January 12, with the nominations on February 3. The awards ceremony will take place March 13.

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