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When AMPAS last year set the unprecedentedly early date of January 10 for the unveiling of their nominations, several other precursors -- those that feel duty-bound to precede the Oscars, come what may -- duly felt the crunch. None more so than the BAFTAs, which have been fashioning themselves as the Oscars' principal shadow event since 2000, and thus found themselves announcing their nominations a mere day before the Academy. It was a slightly chaotic bit of scheduling, and not one we're in a hurry to repeat.
Next year, however, there will a little more breathing room between the two. The date for the Oscar nominations has been moved back to January 16 -- just six days, but that makes a world of difference in the compressed awards timetable -- while sporting events have forced the ceremony itself, which took place on February 24 this year, back to March 2.
BAFTA, meanwhile, is taking advantage of this loosened schedule to allow its members an extra week to consider their options in the second phase of voting. While next year's BAFTA ceremony has been set for February 16 (effecively a week later in the calendar than this year's February 10 event), it was announced today that BAFTA nomination day will be staying more or less put on January 8, thus allowing voters exactly five weeks to mull over their ballots before they're due on February 12. (Unlike at the Oscars, phase two of BAFTA voting opens as soon as the nominations are announced.)
Does this make much of a difference to anything? Not really. While last year, the Academy's nomination ballots were due before BAFTA nods were announced, this year, they're not -- though the window between the two is now less than a day, so it's not as if the Brits' choices will wield any more influence than before.
One thing that remains unchanged from last year is that Oscar voters will be receiving their final ballots two days before the BAFTA ceremony -- though as Kris and I have said time and again, any semi-surprising correlation between BAFTA and Oscar winners is less a result of direct influence than the fact that the BAFTAs' place in the calendar makes them a useful barometer of late-breaking shifts in voter sentiment. Sometimes those shifts extend to the Oscar vote (Marion Cotillard, Tilda Swinton, Alan Arkin); sometimes, as Emmanuelle Riva found earlier this year, they don't.
Anyway, anything this makes the season a little less frantic is fine by me. Here's a schedule of key BAFTA dates (with comparable Oscar dates in italics):
11 December 2013 – BAFTA voting opens (Phase One)
27 December 2013 – Oscar voting opens (Phase One)
3 January 2014 – BAFTA voting closes (Phase One)
8 January 2014 – BAFTA nominations announced, voting opens (Phase Two)
8 January 2014 – Oscar voting closes (Phase One)
16 January 2014 – Oscar nominations announced
12 February 2014 – BAFTA voting closes (Phase Two)
14 February 2014 – Deadline for all BAFTA-eligible films to open theatrically in UK
14 February 2014 – Oscar voting opens (Phase Two)
16 February 2014 – BAFTA ceremony
25 February 2014 – Oscar voting closes (Phase Two)
2 March 2014 – Oscar ceremony
Everything: Academy Awards
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