Films which are judged not to be “diverse” enough can no longer win the most prestigious BAFTA awards are the rules were rewritten to end the tradition of judging on merit alone.
According to the new guidelines, only movies that fulfil two of four diversity criteria are eligible for “Outstanding British Film” or “Outstanding Debut”.
Pictures wishing to be considered for the award must show they have attempted to improve diversity in the following areas:
- On-screen characters and themes
- Senior roles and crew
- Industry training and career progression
- Audience access and appeal to under-represented audiences
A statement said:
The BAFTA Film Committee has reviewed the Standards and believes they are a flexible and achievable model, which the whole industry can adopt as a shared language for understanding diversity. They also provide a shared framework for measuring diversity so that the industry can track progress over time.
The academy also claimed this “significant change” will help to engage with people from minorities, women, LGBT, disabled, and from lower socio-economic groups.
At the same time, Bafta is changing its rules for admitting new member to join the body that votes for award winners. From now on, people working in the film industry won’t have to be recommended by two existing members to be considered for membership, which the body hopes will improve its own ethnic and gender mix.
Bafta follows the example of music industry’s Brit Awards, which purged its judging panel of “old, white men” earlier this year in response to being called racist.