Bafta Chief Defends Awards Shortlist

The woman in charge of the Bafta awards has defended the fact that some nominated films have not yet been released in the UK.

Despite being a British-based event, three of the five candidates for best film - Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and Les Miserables - are still to hit cinemas this side of the Atlantic.

Bafta's chief executive Amanda Berry told Sky News that leaving out certain movies could damage the credibility of the event.

"The films which haven't opened yet - Les Miserables opens on Friday, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty opens in two weeks' time - they are films that have done incredibly well in the rest of the world.

"If we were producing a ceremony that doesn't have those films people would be asking why not."

She said it was important that the major film awards were able to consider the same group of films.

Ms Berry added: "Every film that opens in the UK is eligible. We allow films right up to the date of the ceremony in February."

Empire Online's deputy editor Helen O'Hara agrees that Bafta should be allowed to include movies still to go on general release.

She said: "I don't think it's a major issue for UK cinema goers, to be honest, since all the films nominated will be out long before the Awards are held.

"If anything it might encourage audiences to try one of these nominees that they might otherwise have skipped."

Even though some films are not your local multiplex, Bafta's 6,500 members get a chance to view them all via advance DVDs and special screenings.

In 2001, the Baftas moved to a date before the Oscars in an effort to increase the ceremony's profile and lay down a marker for Hollywood's big day.

The ceremony is now an important date in the international film awards season, which also takes in events such as the Golden Globes, which are on January 13.

"It's worked really well for them," says Empire's Helen O'Hara. "With many more of the nominees now coming to London for the Awards each year and Bafta becoming a regular part of awards season for the big US stars."

She added: "It also avoids the sort of bizarre situation that used to happen where a film would be nominated for Bafta a full year after its Oscar nominations."

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes