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EE British Academy Film Awards: Timeline and Rule Changes Announced for 2020

7 August 2019

BAFTA has today published the rules and timeline for the EE British Academy Film Awards 2020, following its annual review of all categories

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today published the rules and timeline for the EE British Academy Film Awards 2020, following its annual review of all categories. BAFTA’s Film Committee undertakes this review each year in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders across the industry.

As previously announced, the Film Awards will take place in London on Sunday 2 February, with nominations to be announced on Tuesday 7 January. The Film Awards will be returning to the Royal Albert Hall for a fourth year. The 2020 timeline is available in full at

BAFTA will be introducing a Casting award. This is the first new category since Outstanding Debut (as the Carl Foreman Award) was presented in 1999 and will recognise achievements in the craft of casting and its importance in film-making. A Casting award will also be introduced to the British Academy Television Craft Awards in 2020, marking the first time BAFTA has simultaneously introduced a category.

Pippa Harris, Chair of BAFTA, said “BAFTA’s Awards exist to recognise excellence across the industry and we are delighted this year to be including the highly skilled work of casting directors for the first time. Casting is essential to the screen industries, and vital in terms of promoting diversity and inclusion on-screen. We hope this Award will also help to promote an understanding of casting and look forward to seeing who will be the first winner in February!”

Lucy Bevan, Casting Director (Cats, Maleficent), said “I am delighted that a Casting award will be introduced at both the Film and Television Craft Awards this year, it is a great honour for our industry to be recognised by BAFTA and I look forward to seeing many deserving, talented casting professionals receive the award in the years to come. I would like to thank BAFTA on behalf of casting directors across the world, it is terrific news for our profession.”

BAFTA also announced that the Original Music category is to be renamed Original Score, underlining a focus on composer and score, and acknowledging the integral part they play in contributing to the narrative, atmosphere and emotional landscape of the film.

BAFTA-nominated composer David Arnold (Quantum of Solace, Independence Day), said “BAFTA is about recognising and rewarding excellence in the craft of film-making with the hope that it will inspire future generations to pursue these skills to the highest standards. I feel these new category changes will go a long way to ensuring the proponents of these skills are effectively identified and justifiably recognised.”

Following extensive consultation across the industry BAFTA has decided there will be no change to existing eligibility rules regarding the theatrical release required for a film to qualify for the Film Awards. Films for the 2020 Awards are 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.

It is the intention that all films are entered within the spirit of the rules and not purely to qualify for the Awards. Therefore, the Film Committee, as the final arbiter on what qualifies, is working towards ensuring that entrants respect industry norms; so films are released more broadly and across a wide geographical area, are scheduled at conventional cinema times, are not four-walled, and would encourage that admission figures are shared.

Amanda Berry OBE, CEO at BAFTA, said “BAFTA is committed to ensuring that the British public has the opportunity to see the widest possible range of films in cinema. In 2016 BAFTA increased the minimum requirements for theatrical release and following a robust consultation period this year we are confident that our rules remain fit for purpose and continue to allow for the breadth of films from mainstream to indies to be eligible”.

As in previous years, all nominated titles must have a theatrical release by the Friday prior to the Film Awards (Friday 31 January in 2020), ensuring the UK public has an opportunity to see films before the ceremony. However, following industry consultation, BAFTA will also be trialling an extended eligibility window for Films Not in the English Language. These films must be released by Friday 28 February in 2020, allowing distributors and exhibitors additional time to find a release window the films deserve and therefore giving the public more opportunity to see them.

Marc Samuelson, Chair of BAFTA’s Film Committee, said “Films not in the English Language can have difficulty finding the release windows required, potentially preventing them from participating in the Awards Season. We hope this extended window will allow those films more opportunity to get the recognition they deserve.”

BAFTA’s commitment to promoting and increasing diversity remains key to the Film Awards. BAFTA’s committees and jury chairs are currently undertaking independent unconscious bias training ahead of the 2020 Awards season. BAFTA is continuing to identify ways to lead change within the film, games & television industries, and will be making further announcements in the coming months.



Monday 2 September              Deadline for Outstanding Debut titles

Tuesday 22 October                 Deadline for submission of Stage One entry forms

Thursday 21 November             Deadline for Stage Two entry submission

Friday 29 November                 Draft Entered Films list to be made available to voters and entrants

Friday 6 December                   Deadline for requests to changes to the Draft Entered Films list and SVFX Statements

Wednesday 11 December        Films released in the UK after 1 January 2020 must be screened to BAFTA voters by this date to qualify

Thursday 12 December             Round One voting opens at 10:00

Monday 30 December             Round One voting closes at 18:00

Deadline for SVFX reels


Tuesday 7 January                   Nominations announcement

Round Two voting opens

Wednesday 29 January            Round Two voting closes at 18:00

Friday 31 January                     All entered films to have been screened to the public by this date (except for FNIEL titles, which must be screened to the public by Friday 28 February)

Sunday 2 February                   EE British Academy Film Awards

For further information, please contact:

Vicky Grayson at freuds

T 020 3003 6300

E [email protected]


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds in working in film, games and television, visit For more, visit