BAFTA to Join Forces with Film Academy for Universal Set of Diversity Standards
Art and Experience: BAFTA has come out in support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ new standards for representation, with hopes that a uniform set of diversity requirements can apply to both the Oscars and BAFTA Awards.
Marc Samuelson, chair of BAFTA’s film committee, tells Variety, “BAFTA has worked for the last three years with the BFI, and has been consulting with AMPAS, with the hope being that between the three organizations, we can create standards that will apply everywhere.
“It means that all of the various awards can be subject to passing diversity standards. That should in turn galvanize the progress of diversity across the whole industry,” said Samuelson.
AMPAS on Friday revealed plans to assemble a task force of industry leaders “to develop and implement new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility by July 31, 2020.” A quarterly viewing process for members to increase year-round exposure to films, as well as mandatory unconscious bias training and maximum governor term limits have also been imposed.
BAFTA introduced its own diversity criteria in 2018, using the BFI Diversity Standards as a requirement for eligibility across a number of categories, including British Film, Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director and Producer.
However, Variety understands there have been challenges in figuring out how to ensure the international films submitted to BAFTA are adhering to its set of diversity standards. AMPAS’ commitment to improving its own diversity requirements will help this cause — and a joined-up approach between BAFTA, AMPAS and the BFI should present an industry-wide solution.
The British Academy said on Friday that, “A number of films increased their adherence to the Diversity Standards as a result [of diversity criteria for awards eligibility], and we have increased the number of categories covered. We will continue to do this, as well as looking to tighten the requirements, and also roll them out to cover BAFTA Games and Television Awards.”
“We recognize that there is still a huge amount of work to be done to make our awards and industry more diverse, and BAFTA remains committed to addressing the lack of representation across the industry at all levels. We look forward to continuing our work with the BFI, the Academy and other international partners to effect real change.”
BAFTA has also confirmed that unconscious bias training has been undertaken by its board, executive committees and the chairs of juries. The org is now considering rolling out the training to its entire membership.
Meanwhile, BAFTA has said its “root and branch” review of how the Film Awards are voted on in the wake of the 2020 Awards — which saw no people of color nominated in the acting categories and, again, no female helmers getting a nod for best director — will continue in parallel to the consultation with AMPAS on diversity standards.
It’s understood that the review could continue into next year, but will impact the 2021 awards.
Elsewhere, potential plans to follow AMPAS’ lead in considering films released digitally without playing in theaters for next year’s awards is “absolutely under discussion” by BAFTA, Variety can confirm.