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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is a British charity that hosts annual awards shows for excellence in film, television, television craft, video games and forms of animation. They are often cited as a British equivalent to the Oscars.


BAFTA was founded in 1947 as The British Film Academy, by David Lean, Alexander Korda, Carol Reed, Charles Laughton, Roger Manvell and other leading figures in the British film industry. In 1958, the Academy merged with The Guild of Television Producers and Directors to form The Society of Film and Television, which eventually became The British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1976.

BAFTA's is an independent charity with a mission to "support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public". In addition to high profile awards ceremonies BAFTA runs a year-round programme of educational events including film screenings and tribute evenings. BAFTA is supported by a membership of around 6000 people from the film, television and video game industries. BAFTA's main office is on Piccadillymarker in Londonmarker, but it also has branches in Scotlandmarker (BAFTA Scotland), Walesmarker (BAFTA Cymru), New York Citymarker (BAFTA East Coast) and Los Angelesmarker (BAFTA/LA).

The Academy's awards are in the form of a theatrical mask designed by American sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe, which was commissioned by the Guild of Television Producers in 1955. Since 1989, the Los Angeles branch, BAFTA/LA, holds its own awards ceremony each year, called the Britannia Awards.

In November 2007 a special tribute programme was shown on ITV in the UKmarker celebrating 60 years of the organisation called Happy Birthday BAFTA.

Awards presented in London

British Academy Film Awards

BAFTA's annual film awards ceremony is known as the British Academy Film Awards, which in 2008 came from the Royal Opera Housemarker, having taken place since 2000 in the flagship Odeon cinema on Leicester Squaremarker. The ceremony previously took place in April or May, but from 2002 onwards has taken place in February, in order to precede the Oscars. The awards are mostly open to all nationalities, though there is an award for Best British Film and Best Newcomer. The 2009 ceremony was held on the 8th February, also at the Royal Opera House.

The Awards in 2009 included:
Slumdog Millionaire (Film)
Danny Boyle (Director), for Slumdog Millionaire
Mickey Rourke (Leading Actor), for The Wrestler
Kate Winslet (Leading Actress), for The Reader
Heath Ledger (Supporting Actor), for The Dark Knight (Posthumous)
Penélope Cruz (Supporting Actress), for Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Martin McDonagh (Original Screenplay), for In Bruges
Simon Beaufoy (Adapted Screenplay), for Slumdog Millionaire
A.R. Rahman (Music), for Slumdog Millionaire

Rising Star Award

Presented at the Orange British Academy Film Awards the Orange Rising Star Award recognises exceptional new acting talent in the film industry. A shortlist of six nominees is selected by BAFTA juries regardless of the nominee's gender and nationality. The winner is then voted for by the public. This award is dedicated to the memory of Mary Selway, the highly-respected, BAFTA-winning British casting director who died in 2004.

British Academy Television Awards

The British Academy Television Awards usually take place in April or May, with craft awards having a separate ceremony slightly later in the year.

The Awards are also often referred to simply as "the BAFTAs" or, to differentiate them from the film awards, sometimes as the "BAFTA Television Awards". They have been awarded annually since 1954. The first ever Awards consisted of six categories. Until 1958, they were awarded by the Guild of Television Producers and Directors. From 1958 onwards, after the Guild had merged with the British Film Academy, the organisation was known as the Society of Film and Television Arts. In 1976, this became the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the name the organisation goes under still as of 2007.

From 1968 until 1997, the BAFTA Film and Television awards were presented in one joint ceremony known simply as the BAFTA Awards, but in order to streamline the ceremonies from 1998 onwards they were split in two. The Television Awards are usually presented in April, with a separate ceremony for the Television Craft Awards on a different date. The Craft Awards are presented for more technical areas of the industry, such as special effects, production design, or costumes.

The Awards are only open to British programmes — with the exception of the audience-voted Pioneer Award — but any cable, satellite, terrestrial or digital television stations broadcasting in the UK are eligible to submit entries, as are independent production companies who have produced programming for the channels. Individual performances, such as from actors, can either be entered by the performers themselves or by the broadcasters. The programmes being entered must have been broadcast on or between 1 January and 31 December of the year preceding the Awards ceremony (so, between 1 January and 31 December 2004 for the 2005 Awards).


The 1991 awards were controversial when Prime Suspect beat G.B.H. to win the Best Drama Serial award. In what became known as "Baftagate", four of the jurors publicly declared that they had voted for G.B.H. and demanded to see the votes, but these had been destroyed.

British Academy Television Craft Awards

The Television Craft Awards are presented for the behind the camera skills involved television production. In 2000 the Awards were separated from the British Academy Television Awards. The Craft Awards also now include several categories associated with interactive media.

As of 2007, the awards included the following categories:
  • Breakthrough Talent
  • Costume Design
  • Director - Factual
  • Director - Fictional/Entertainment
  • Editing - Factual
  • Editing - Fictional/Entertainment
  • Interactive Creative Contribution
  • Interactive Innovation - Content
  • Interactive Innovation - Service/Platform
  • Makeup and Hair Design
  • Original Television Music
  • Photography & Lighting - Fictional/Entertainment
  • Photography - Factual
  • Production Design
  • Sound - Factual
  • Sound - Fictional/Entertainment
  • Titles
  • Visual Effects
  • Writer

British Academy Children's Awards

The British Academy Children's Awards are presented annually in November to reward excellence in the art forms of the moving image aimed at children.

The Academy has a long history of recognising and rewarding Children's programming presenting two awards at the 1969 ceremony - The Flame of Knowledge Award for Schools Programmes and the Harlequin Award for Children's Programmes.

This year's awards ceremony included 19 categories across film, television, video games and online content. The Awards ceremony took place on 30 November 2008 at the London Hilton Hotel. BAFTA Children's Awards 2008 winners

Since 2007 the Children's Awards have included a Kids Vote Award voted for by children under 14 and a CBBC me and my movie award, a children's film-making initiative to inspire and enable children to make their own films and tell their own stories.

British Academy Video Games Awards

BAFTA first recognised video games and other interactive media at its inaugural Interactive Entertainment Awards ceremony in 1998, ushering in the first change to its rules since the admittance of television thirty years earlier. Among the first winning games were GoldenEye 007, Gran Turismo and interactive comedy MindGym, sharing the spotlight with the BBC News Online website which won the news category four years running.

The event was split into the BAFTA Video Games Awards and the BAFTA Interactive Awards in 2003, and while high profile winners like Halo 2 and Half-Life 2 made huge headlines, the interactive division was discontinued and disappeared from BAFTA's publicity material after only two ceremonies.

Robin Beanland once won an award for his music composition on the Nintendo 64's Conker's Bad Fur Day

In 2006 BAFTA announced their decision "to give video games equal status with film and television", and ensured that the ceremony held at London's Camden Roundhouse on October 5 was televised for the first time.

Awards presented in Los Angeles

Britannia Awards

The BAFTA/LA awards ceremony, the Britannia Awards, started in 1989 and happens in October/November each year. There are no awards given to films or TV programmes, only to individuals.

During the first ten years only one award was given at each event, called the "Britannia Award for Excellence in Film", but since 1999 the number of awards have grown, and in 2005 they were four: "The Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film" (the original award was renamed in 2000 to honour Stanley Kubrick), "The John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in Directing" (added in 2003 in honour of John Schlesinger), "The Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in International Entertainment", and "The Cunard Britannia Award for Lifetime Contributions to International Film". With the exception of the Stanley Kubrick and John Schlesinger awards, which are always given, both the number of awards and their titles may vary from year to year.

The 2007 recipients were:
  • Denzel Washington - (Stanley Kubrick Britannia Awards for Excellence in Film)
  • Martin Campbell - (The John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in Directing)
  • Kate Winslet - (The Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year)
  • New Line Cinema's Bob Shaye & Michael Lynne - (Cunard Britannia Award for Lifetime Contributions to International Film)
  • Richard Curtis - (The BAFTA/LA Humanitarian Award presented by Volvo)

The 2006 recipients were:
  • Sir Sidney Poitier - (the Cunard Britannia Award for Lifetime Contributions to International Film)
  • Rachel Weisz - (The Britannia Award for Artist of the Year)
  • Anthony Minghella - (The John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in Directing)

Previous recipients of the Britannia Awards have included Tom Cruise, Elizabeth Taylor, Mike Newell, Ronald Neame, Albert Broccoli, Michael Caine, Peter Ustinov, Martin Scorsese, Anthony Hopkins, Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Hugh Grant, Peter Weir, Tom Hanks, Angela Lansbury and Helen Mirren.

Awards presented in Scotland and Wales

BAFTA Scotland

BAFTA Scotland is the national organisation for Scotlandmarker of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts mainly funded by the main Scottish broadcasters. Formed in 1997, they hold an annual awards ceremony to recognise achievement by performers and production staff in Scottish film and television. These are separate from the UK-wide British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Film Awards, although films and programmes recognised by BAFTA Scotland can also sometimes feature at BAFTA's UK awards.

From 1998 to 2002, BAFTA Scotland held an award ceremony focusing on new talent; the organisation resumed giving annual awards in 2005.


BAFTA Cymru is the national organisation for Walesmarker of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Formed in 1991, they hold an annual awards ceremony to recognise achievement by performers and production staff in Welsh-made films and television programmes. These are separate from the UK-wide British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Film Awards, although films and programmes recognised by BAFTA Cymru may also feature at BAFTA's national awards.


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