LONDON -- The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is revamping its voting system for the Orange British Academy Film Awards.
The move, which reduces the voting rounds from three to two, will be introduced in time for this year's voting period leading to the 2013 winners. The change will help keep BAFTA's film awards nominations ahead of the Oscars and maintain the British awards' prominent role during awards season.
The other goal is to give BAFTA members more opportunities to vote on relevant categories and follows after "extensive discussion, consideration and research over several years," the organization said. Its Film Committee took the decision to take the plunge and rehash the rules.
BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry told THR the organization "wanted to keep its nominations ahead of the Oscars." The Oscars last year moved its nomination date a week early. Overall, the changes bring the voting procedures closer to the Oscar process, Berry said.
"We've set our nominations date for Jan. 9, 2013, and the Oscars are scheduled for Jan. 15, 2013, so we'll be six days ahead," Berry said. "There's a short space in the calendar when the world is focused on film, and we wanted to be part of that to help promote British film and our members." This year, BAFTA nominations came out Jan. 17, followed by the Oscars on Jan. 24.
The BAFTA awards ceremony will be held Feb. 10, 2013; the Oscars will take place Feb. 24.
As with previous years, members will vote for both the nominations and the winner in the best film category and the four performance categories – actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress.
Members also will have the opportunity to opt in to chapters to vote for the nominees and winner in the animation, documentary, "film not in the English language" and outstanding British film categories.
Berry said the rule changes will allow members to abstain for categories they do not feel their expertise lies in.
BAFTA said individual chapters now will decide the nominees, and members then will vote for the winner across the adapted screenplay and original screenplay, cinematography, costume design, director, editing, makeup & hair, original music, production design, sound and special visual effects prize categories.
Voting procedures remain unchanged for outstanding debut by a writer, director or producer in their first feature film, short film and short animation categories.
A jury will decide both the nominations and winner for outstanding debut; the short film and short animation nominations also will be decided by a jury and the winners decided by an opt-in chapter.
BAFTA’s Film Committee chair Nik Powell said: "This decision was taken due to the simplicity and clarity of a two-round system, not to mention its potential to involve members more. These changes capitalize on the strength and expertise of the academy’s chapter voting system, which was first introduced in 2004-05."
BAFTA has 6,500 voting members, and its chapter sizes range from the 100s to the 1,000s depending on which field is picked.