The British Academy of Film and Television Arts commonly known as BAFTA are presented annually to honor the best British and international contributions to film.
The award ceremony is held in London each year. From 2000 to 2007 the Award ceremony took place at the flagship Odeon cinema in Leicester Square. Since 2008 till 2016, the ceremony took place at the Royal Opera House. The 70th British Academy Film Awards were held on 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall.
BAFTA was founded in 1947 as The British Film Academy, by David Lean, Carol Reed, Alexander Korda, Charles Laughton, Roger Manvell and others. It merged with The Guild of Television Producers and Directors in 1958 to form The Society of Film and Television, which later became The British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1976. BAFTA runs a year-round program of educational events including film screenings and tribute evenings in addition to high-profile awards ceremonies. BAFTA is supported by a membership of around 6,000 people from the film, television and video game industries.
Designed in the form of the theatrical mask by American sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe, The BAFTA Awards was commissioned by the Guild of Television Producers in 1955.
Previously the ceremony took place in April or May and since 2002 it takes place in February in order to precede the Oscars. The BAFTA awards are mostly open to all nationalities, excluding an award for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Producer or Director. Eligibility for the categories of The British Short Film and British Short Animation awards is solely reserved for UK films.
This year’s nominees were announced on 10 January 2017 by actor Dominic Cooper and actress Sophie Turner. This year, the movie “La La Land” was elected with the most nominations in eleven categories including the top four categories – Best film, Best Actor, and Actress: the Lead role and Best Director. Two more films namely “Arrival” and “Nocturnal Animals” followed with nine nominations each.
Leading from the front was Ken Loach’s – I, Daniel Blake and the Harry Potter spin-off “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” with five nominations each.
Following numerous criticisms at the lack of representation of ethnic minorities in the 2016 awards, BAFTA had announced necessary steps to increase diversity across the entertainment industry, on either side of the camera. However, the criticism still followed as there was a lack of representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) actors, directors and films in the nominations. In the leading actor, actress, and director category, there were no BAME nominees, with the omission of Directors like Barry Jenkins “Moonlight” and Denzel Washington “Fences”, highlighted as particularly noteworthy.
The evening was stolen by “La La Land”, which won the most awards at the event, winning five including Best Film. The Best Director award was bagged by Damien Chazelle followed by Linus Sandgren, securing for the Best Cinematography. Justin Hurwitz was awarded for Best Original Music and Emma Stone for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
“Manchester by the Sea” won two awards, out of which Kenneth Lonergan won Best Original Screenplay and Casey Affleck won Best Actor in a Leading Role. While Luke Davies won Best Adapted Screenplay and Dev Patel won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the film “Lion”, thus winning two awards. Additionally, in acting categories, Viola Davis won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the film “Fences”. Mel Brooks has adjudged The Academy Fellowship for his contribution to cinema.