BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) masks Image Credit: AFP

The British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) has shifted the dates for its 2021 ceremony in line with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ decision to shift the Oscars to April.

In a statement, Baftas has confirmed April 11 as the new date for the glittering ceremony, which will be held exactly two weeks before the Oscars are scheduled to take place on April 25.

“This change from the previously announced date of 14 February acknowledges the impact of the global pandemic and accommodates an extended eligibility period. Further details on the ceremony will be announced later in the year,” Bafta said in a statement issued on June 16.

The body also announced temporary changes to its film eligibility rules for the 2021 awards, in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, which resulted in UK cinemas closing on March 20.

“They have been implemented to ensure that titles which had an intended theatrical release are not penalised due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on cinemas. The changes outlined will be reviewed at the end of July 2020, taking into consideration the constantly evolving circumstances of film production, distribution and exhibition at this unprecedented time,” the body further added.

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Some of the changes being implemented will allow titles will which were on theatrical release when cinemas closed and therefore had their theatrical release curtailed, to be eligible regardless of the number of qualifying screenings they had.

Titles whose confirmed theatrical release date (as determined by the Film Distributors Association) had fallen during the cinema lockdown will also be eligible should their release change to an approved commercial VOD platform. These titles can be released at any time during the 2020–21 eligibility period.

The BAFTA Film Awards precede the Oscars by a number of weeks. This year’s BAFTAs took place on February 2, while the Oscars followed on February 9.