Newsflash: BAFTA Voters, Like Academy and Guild Voters, Are Lazy Sheep

A 1.9 Daily Mail article by an anonymous BAFTA voter states — are you sitting down? — that “the voting process is based less on artistic merit than on a combination of coercion, trend-following and pot luck.”

“Maybe 100 films released over the past 12 months have a realistic chance of winning a BAFTA, and probably 70 to 80 of those are released in the last two months of the year,” the author says. “[And come December] you have 50 or 60 films to get through. In less than a month. With Christmas in the middle. And a deadline of January 3rd to vote for your five nominations in each category. It’s just not possible to watch them all. So which ones rise to the top of the pile? The ones you’ve already heard about. And the ones that have already started winning.

“From late November onwards, reviewers and film critic groups start to publish their Top 10 lists. The New York Film Critics Circle is an early big one at the start of December, followed by the American National Board Of Review a few days later, and the Golden Globe nominations a week after that. (Can you see a pattern emerging? The Americans are already setting the pace.) This year, films such as 12 Years A Slave, Gravity and American Hustle got a lot of early momentum. Other much-hyped films such as The Great Gatsby or August: Osage County started to fall away.

Lupita Nyong’o from 12 Years A Slave was hailed early on as a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actress, and now looks set to claim the BAFTA. Old favorite Bruce Dern was hailed the comeback king for his Best Actor role in the little-seen Nebraska, and sure enough he has bagged a Bafta nomination. So, very quickly, the front-runners are anointed. And they ride that wave all the way to the BAFTAs and beyond.

“The point is clear. We’re sheep. And we follow the sheep in front of us. And the little guys fall by the wayside.”

  • Brad

    The Daily Mail: the last bastion of truth along with Armond White.

    • Noiresque

      And Sean Penn is with Charlize Theron. The clear winners in this situation are the men.

  • Brad

    “Let’s be clear. Bafta voting guidelines state explicitly that you must only vote for films you have seen. Which makes perfect sense. But I’ve done it. And I bet everyone else has, too. You vote for the ones you think are going to win.”

    If I’m corrupt therefore others must be, too? Of course, it all makes sense now …

  • Steven Gaydos

    Thought this was pretty much dog bites man to the max. What news? Where? Help me! Anyone got a magnifying glass?

  • JoeS

    It’s pretty emabarrasing that the likes of the Golden Globes and the Boston Online Film Critics have scared the Academy and BAFTA into accelerating their own schedule from April to February.


  • Perfect Tommy

    The sheep are voting for films that were in Wells’ top ten list. Why can’t they be mavericks and vote for Upstream Color? Or lemmings and vote for The Purge? Or gorillas and vote for Iron Man III? Or yellow bellied marmots and vote for Warm Bodies?

  • Muscle McGurk

    Cry cry cry whine whine whine. I have news for you anonymous BAFTA voter: your life is SOOOOOOOO hard. Guess what? Awards mean shit and your vote means even less. Get the fuck over yourself.

  • roland1824

    Unrelated – what happened with Reitman’s Labor Day? Did they not smell any awards action, so decided to dump it during early year no man’s land? Was a 2014 release always the plan?

    • Perfect Tommy

      Pretty sure 2013 was the plan, but it didn’t get the love at the festivals.

    • JoeS

      It DID get the LA – NYC Oscar qualifying run in December. Not likely to get any noms though.

      Stupid Question: Uh, why wasn’t it released around Labor Day………..?


    • Ray Quick

      I saw it when it was out in LA for a week…. If you like PIE, you’re in for a baker’s delight.

      • Brad


    • Brad

      I think the plan was ALWAYS 2013 but a number of factors hurt the film, in terms of its awards chances. Reitman’s in an interesting point in his career. I’d always thought he’d have a very difficult time following up ‘Up in the Air’. From what I understand, he initially had plans to make ‘Labor Day’ next, then Cody gave him the ‘Young Adult’ script and he felt he couldn’t not make it. In retrospect, ‘Young Adult’ was an ambitious choice, given its difficult subject matter and lead character (i.e. an unapologetic and caustic FEMALE protagonist and an unlikeable motivation).

      However, because of that film’s difficult reception, he was no longer a critical favorite, he’s certainly not an indie darling and he isn’t a mainstream filmmaker, either. He’s a big of a nowhere director and ‘Labor Day’ definitely suffered from that perception in the festival market. And that’s not even taking into account the INSANE pie sequence, Tobey Maguire CGI, the unlikely plot elements etc. Or that fact that – even with these story elements – Reitman might not be the right director for this kind of tone. It’s one thing to gradually develop from snarky to sombre in a film (and Reitman is VERY GOOD at balancing tones) and to create something that’s wistful right from the start. He’s a mechanical, technically gifted, education-honed, snarky director trying to do ART. And, hell, I don’t think that I am the only person sick to death of Winslet doing all-American suburban housewife, with her hard RRRRRRRs and dull cadences of her emotionless Yank accent. Well, maybe that’s just me, but all the other factors would have hurt the film during awards season despite BROLIN OWNING.

      At this point, I could easily see Reitman shooting star vehicles for the rest of his career, bringing his skill at directing actors and his intelligent approach to visual style to more studio or mini-studio fare. Then again, the trade-off would be that Reitman wouldn’t be able to do the edgier material that he is more attracted to.

      • Brad

        And FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK Reitman, anyway. The failure of this film has put my spec script ‘Rosa Parks Day’ on the backburner at Fox.

  • Noiresque

    BAFTA is an exercise in embarrassing British desperation to be relevant in America. They are the awards ceremony version of a Richard Curtis hero, lusting after a cool American girl out of his league. I think they have some kind of “who ever gets their paperwork” in attitude to cut-off dates, and they get some weird yet bland nominees (Ziyi Zhang in Memoirs of a Geisha, Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading) and weirder winners (Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovitch over Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry!). Worst of all, BAFTA drops the ball on nominating barely-outside-the-mainstream performances from their own countrymen (Olivia Colman in Tyrannosaur, Sally Hawkins in Happy Go Lucky, Samantha Morton several times) in favour of the stars of hot middle-brow art films whom they hope will show up as part of their Oscar campaign.

    • Brad

      Jesus, Colman wasn’t nominated? For real? That’s a pathetic joke. Mullan, Colman and Marsan were incredible in that film, giving nuanced and emotionally focused performances. Fuck BAFTA. FUCK EVERYTHINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

      • Noiresque

        They should hang their heads in shame. Off all (inherently) pointless awards, BAFTA takes the cake.

  • Michael

    “the voting process is based less on artistic merit than on a combination of coercion, trend-following and pot luck.”

    And this is news…why exactly?

    Are you seriously so naive to have believed that any kind of voting is purely rational and done in an attempt to be as objective as possible?

  • Michael Gebert

    Speaking of Brit papers, my book from years ago got me quoted in the Guardian and Observer today (yes, I know Steve McQueen is accidentally called Alexander at one point, no need to point that out):