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Photograph: Guy Levy/BAFTA

Next year’s Baftas are postponed by two months

And the eligibility criteria for nominated films are changed too

By Time Out Film

Hot on the heels of the postponement of next year’s Oscars by a couple of months comes news that the 2021 Baftas is also being pushed back. The British film awards will still precede the Academy Awards only instead of its usual February slot, it will take place on April 11. The Academy Awards will take place a fortnight later on April 25.

With the whole of awards season moving into the spring, the usual qualifying period for eligible films has, unsurprisingly, shifted too. 

The criteria have been expanded to allow films released on streaming platforms during lockdown to qualify. So acclaimed indies like ‘The Assistant’ and animations like ‘Trolls World Tour’ will be eligible for consideration. Films will also require fewer public screenings than normal to qualify.

‘Relaxing the scale of theatrical release required, including releases on VOD in some cases, and pushing back the date of the Awards should help the smaller, independent, documentary, foreign language and particularly the British films to be seen,’ says Bafta’s chair of the film committee, Marc Samuelson.

The new rules will be reviewed in late July as cinemas start to reopen and the film release schedule takes shape for the rest of 2020. The qualifying period – normally January to January – will be decided later in the year.

Traditionally, the big film festivals act as a kind of invisible launchpad for many awards candidates. This year, with Cannes cancelled and Venice and Toronto still in doubt, it may prove harder for films to cut through as they normally might. That could give other movies a chance to sneak into the awards reckoning. Your Oscar-night predictions could be fiendish next year.

The 2021 Academy Awards have also been pushed back.

Picturehouse and Cineworld cinemas will be reopening on July 10.

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