This year’s Golden Globes in January took place behind closed doors, with no red carpet, no celebrities, no press and no audience. While there was obviously COVID-19 and the surge of Omicron to consider, the main factor behind this complete removal of the distinctly un-Globes fanfare was the dramatic and well-documented downfall of the HFPA and an ongoing boycott by much of Hollywood. It’s perhaps understandable that many people outside of the movie world – and even inside – can’t even remember who won (for the record, The power of the dog was named best film, drama and West Side Storybest picture, musical or comedy).
This Sunday’s BAFTA awards ceremony, by contrast, is set to be a glitzy, star-studded affair, with the British Academy pulling out the big guns to celebrate the return to an in-person event at London’s Royal Albert Hall after the virtual affair of 2021. Rebel Wilson is in charge of hosting, while Shirley Bassey will kick off proceedings by performing a classic James Bond theme. Lady Gaga, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Rege Jean-Page and Millie Bobby Brown are among the list of top presenters.
There is no scientific rationale for this comparison, other than the fact that, outside of the industry, the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes are – after the Oscars – usually the top movie awards listed in CVs, biographies and Wikipedia entries (and obituaries). Indeed, for those talented enough to have won multiple accolades across the board, the order usually goes through the Oscars, followed by the BAFTAs and then the Golden Globes or the Golden Globes and then the BAFTAs, seemingly giving both a shout for second place in the status stakes.
But has that changed now? Does the current unfortunate position of the Globes as the persona non grata of the Hollywood events calendar mean that the BAFTAs can now take advantage of it and firmly claim the right to be the biggest cinematic awards after the Oscars?
As one Los Angeles awards strategist notes, the Globes have “definitely taken a major hit to their profile”, adding that they’ve been “almost non-existent” for the past two years. “So the BAFTAs are definitely up there, behind the Academy.”
The question posed — which is really little more than a theoretical exercise and entirely subjective — is based on semantics, essentially on what is meant by “the greatest”.
If it’s ‘most high-profile’, then many would argue that the BAFTAs were already above the Globes before the recent spinoff, purely based on who picks the winning films and an untainted voting process. controversy or allegations of corruption.
“I would say the BAFTA film awards have always been more important because of the pedigree and experience of the voting members, where you have 6,500 voting members compared to 105 at the HFPA,” says an experienced UK-based publicist, which suggests that much of the Globes’ status was purely based on the “entertainment” value of the awards themselves – usually quite boozy and with a host likely to poke fun at invited celebrities – rather than what the awards represent Actually. “The Globes have carved out a niche for themselves,” they suggest.
The LA strategist says that “unlike the HFPA, BAFTA members are a respected group of filmmakers, which adds a lot to its prestige.”
“BAFTA is a big organization and there are a lot of important people who are members of it,” adds Liz Miller, Premier PR’s awards season veteran with more than 15 years of experience in campaigns. “They have outreach programs, which are really, really good, and a public face, which is really, really good as well.”
Miller also suggests that the BAFTAs are “probably more important” than any other country’s individual film awards, such as the Caesars, Goyas and Donatellos.
When it comes to the personal worth of the BAFTAs, Golden Globes or Oscars, establishing any kind of ranking is – understandably – extremely subjective.
“Each awards show means something different to each person,” says Jo Whitehead of London-based publicists WDW Entertainment. “If you’re a British talent living in America and you’re nominated for a BAFTA, they’re usually really excited to come back and go home. I guess it all depends on your emotional connection to it.
But if the “biggest” is considered in terms of an event’s importance to the awards season calendar, particularly as a precursor to the all-important Oscars, then change is in the air.
Since 2001, when the British Academy cleverly moved its awards from a post-Oscars slot in April to earlier in the year, the BAFTAs have become a key – if not the key – focus for the industry in preparation for the AMPAS Grand Finals. Held two weeks before the Oscars – just before the start of the final ballot – it quickly established itself as a hugely influential opportunity for a final awards campaign push, and many have turned to it for clues about the Last-minute momentum changes in Oscar voting buzz. Nominees and winners have often tied each other.
But not so much.
Following a seismic internal review in 2020 in response to widespread claims that its nominations lacked diversity (a year when the #BAFTASoWhite hashtag started trending), the British Academy made over 120 significant changes to its voting, membership and campaign process. He added a long list, put more emphasis on juries, tweaked some categories, and started phasing out DVD screens in favor of his own platform, all part of what he described as ” leveling the playing field” to ensure that as many films as possible are seen. .
As a result, the 2021 nominees – the first since the changes were implemented – were the most diverse in BAFTA history and a break from the norm by simply setting the stage for Oscar nominations a week later. That being said, the lists of BAFTA and Oscar winners were nearly identical.
This year, however, the emergence of BAFTA’s new identity is arguably even more apparent. Some categories — like Best Actress — have no crossover with the Oscars (BAFTA voters choose Lady Gaga, along with Emilia Jones and Alaina Haim). As part of what appears to be a much stronger localized focus, several British films and stars are getting the kind of recognition they might not have had a few years earlier, Boiling pointthis is Stephen Graham, Ali and Avais Adeel Akhtar and After Love‘s Joanna Scanlan shortlisted in Best Performance Categories.
Few criticize the BAFTAs for, as Whitehead describes it, “standing on their own two feet”, and its push for diversity and more individual British persona has been much appreciated. But many in the industry feel the current crop of nominees — and a voting process now heavily reliant on juries — have made the awards less relevant in the overall Oscar push. As one awards season analyst notes, they’re “less part of the awards season conversation now.” Miller says the changes to the voting procedure have “probably tipped the scales of what AMPAS voters are likely to do.”
“A few years ago, I would have said 100% that the BAFTAs are the last stop on the road to Oscar glory,” says Whitehead, who says that despite recent changes, the BAFTAs are still “very strategically placed, with final Oscar voting opening on March 17, four days after the BAFTAs.
“People still come [to the U.K.] on the road to the Oscars there is a big AMPAS nominees party and there is always press,” she says. “People are still campaigning.”
But if the nominees are completely different, what good is the BAFTA campaign if its sole purpose is to sway the Oscars (unless it’s really just for the many AMPAS voters in the UK)? Some insiders claimed the change actually called into question the importance of studios putting their full weight behind UK awards campaigns.
“If it doesn’t help their movie get an Oscar, then they’ll probably put some resources into it, but probably not as many,” says the LA Awards strategist.
SAGs – many have suggested – are now more perhaps more of an indicator of what might happen at the Oscar.
Going back to the original question, if “biggest” just means the ceremony itself, then – certainly for 2022 at least – there’s simply no contest between the BAFTAs and the Globes.
That being said, the fact that this year’s BAFTA awards take place a day after the DGA awards and on the same day as the Critics’ Choice awards means there will be some notable absentees, including, at the time of writing, Jane Campion and Paul Thomas Anderson (both up for Best Director BAFTAs), and Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mahershala Ali (all up for Best Lead Actor).
So, in conclusion, are the BAFTAs now the biggest film awards after the Oscars?
Says Miller: “Does it really matter? I think on some level everyone agrees that this is all pretty silly, right? »