The BAFTAs: A Bluffer’s Guide..

THE BAFTAS: Sunday 13th February, BBC1, 9pm ALERT ME

Why is everyone constantly blabbering about the BAFTAs at the moment? I’d understand it if those golden faces that they hand out were made of actual gold, but why bother when we already have the Oscars and the Golden Globes?
Because the BAFTAS (or the British Academy Film Awards to give them their full title) are a chance for us to celebrate great films including those British films that the Oscars or Golden Globes conveniently missed out on in their nominations…
Shouldn’t they be called BAFAs then?..
The awards are handed out by The British Academy of Film and Television Arts smart-arse.. hence – they are BAFTAs..
But half the nominations are American films or actors aren’t they?
Indeed, the BAFTAS are about the celebration of brilliant film regardless of nationality, but they also have awards for Outstanding British Film, Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer, to celebrate some of our native talent as well as others.
So how long have we been massaging the egos of these already rather self-important film-makers?
The BAFTAS were founded in 1947 as the British Film Academy by leading British film industry figures such as David Lean and Carol Reed. It merged with the Guild of Television Producers and Directors in 1958, and finally, in 1976, became the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
You need to get out more mate. So who’s the talk of the town this year?
Well The King’s Speech is one of the most nominated film’s ever, and sctors such as Colin Firth, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Annette Bening have been predicted to win big. In the British categories you’ll also find films such as Made in Dagenham, Four Lions, Another Year and Monsters up for awards. Christopher Lee and Harry Potter have already been announced as the winners for the Academy Fellowship Award and Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, it’s all about ex-vampire’s and Wizards apparently.
I hear that granddad bothering chatterbox Jonathan Ross will be hosting them?
The Daily Mail’s bete noire will be leading proceedings..
Does the public have any say?
Don’t be ridiculous, this isn’t X Factor! We are but lowly slugs. Unless you are an Orange customer, in which case you are slightly less lowly. as Orange Wednesday customers are allowed to vote in the category of Rising Star. This year’s nominations include Gemma Arterton, Andrew Garfield, Tom Hardy, Aaron Johnson and Emma Stone. Choose wisely.
So who is this anonymous panel of voters who deem themselves worthier than me to pick the rest of the winners?
The whole judging process of the BAFTAS is an extensive procedure. To vote you must be a registered member of BAFTA. There are around 6,500 BAFTA members, the majority being a specialist in a certain field of the film industry. So they are in fact far more worthy and entitled to vote than you. With up to 250 films initially being put forward in attempts to weasel their way into an award, the BAFTA members have a lot of work ahead of them to whittle down the categories into their compact final nominations.
So from approximately 250 films, they have narrowed it down to five for Best Film? Which are?
Black Swan, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, True Grit and Inception. Place your bets…
So when can I find out who wins?
The BAFTAS are being held at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden, the ceremony will be happening on Sunday the 13th of February, preceding the Oscars which are later in the month on the 27th. They will be screened on BBC1 (with red carpet coverage with Edith Bowman on BBC3) a few hours after they occur.
This Sunday? I’m there.
Well I wouldn’t recommend you go – you won’t get in. But I’m glad to hear you’ll be watching on television. The awards season this year seems to have snowballed into a massive tirade of must see films to a larger extend than usual. With films such as Black Swan and The King’s Speech suddenly becoming must sees for the world’s population, the BAFTAS and other award ceremonies of 2011 seem to have evolved from must watch television for everyone and not just film buffs. So whether you are backing deranged ballet dancers, stuttering Kings or that douche bag who ruined all our social lives by creating Facebook, at least we can all come together and give cinema a good union jack wrapped fist pump in the air.