BAFTA has today announced two changes to its film awards, including the introduction of a new gong marking the importance of casting in the industry which will debut at the 2020 ceremony.
The new Casting award is the first new BAFTA since the Outstanding Debut accolade was introduced in 1999 and will recognise achievements in the craft of casting and its importance in film-making.
In a first, a matching casting award will also be introduced to the British Academy Television Craft Awards in 2020, marking the first time BAFTA has simultaneously introduced a category.
Pippa Harris, Chair of BAFTA, said: “Casting is essential to the screen industries, and vital in terms of promoting diversity and inclusion on-screen.
“We hope this Award will also help to promote an understanding of casting and look forward to seeing who will be the first winner in February!”
In another change, the existing Original Music category is to be renamed Original Score, underlining a focus on composer and score.
BAFTA-nominated composer David Arnold (Quantum of Solace, Independence Day), said “BAFTA is about recognising and rewarding excellence in the craft of film-making with the hope that it will inspire future generations to pursue these skills to the highest standards.
“I feel these new category changes will go a long way to ensuring the proponents of these skills are effectively identified and justifiably recognised.”
Academy bosses have also confirmed that existing rules on eligibility will be maintained.
These allow any film which has been theatrically exhibited publicly to a paying audience on at least ten commercial screens in the UK for at least seven days in aggregate to be considered for an award, including those whose main availability is through streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.
BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry said: “BAFTA is committed to ensuring that the British public has the opportunity to see the widest possible range of films in cinema.
“In 2016 BAFTA increased the minimum requirements for theatrical release and following a robust consultation period this year we are confident that our rules remain fit for purpose and continue to allow for the breadth of films from mainstream to indies to be eligible”.