1. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image – film, television and game in the United Kingdom.
2. In addition to its annual awards ceremonies, BAFTA has an international, year-round programme of learning events and initiatives offering access to talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK and the USA.
3. BAFTA started out as the British Film Academy, was founded in 1947 by a group of directors David Lean, Alexander Korda, Roger Manvell, Laurence Olivier, Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell, Michael Balcon, Carol Reed, and other major figures of the British film industry.
4. David Lean was the founding Chairman of the Academy.
5. The first Film Awards ceremony took place in May 1949 and honouring the films The Best Years of Our Lives, Odd Man Out and The World Is Rich.
6. The Guild of Television Producers and Directors was set up in 1953 with the first awards ceremony in October 1954, and in 1958 merged with the British Film Academy to form the Society of Film and Television Arts, whose inaugural meeting was held at Buckingham Palace and presided over by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
7. In 1976, HM The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Princess Royal and The Earl Mountbatten of Burma officially opened the organisation’s headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, London, and in March the Society officially became known as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).
8. BAFTA 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”.
9. It is a membership organisation comprising approximately 6,500 individuals in the UK and the US who are creatives and professionals working in the film, television and games industries.
10. BAFTA does not receive any funding from the government, so instead relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work.
11. BAFTA has offices in Scotland and Wales, as well as Los Angeles and New York in the United States.
12. Amanda Berry OBE has been chief executive of the organisation since December 2000.
13. The BAFTA awards famous mask was designed by US sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe and it weighs 3.7kg.
14. The BAFTA ceremony used to be held after the Oscars in April or May, but realising that made it less relevant, it was changed to February in 2002.
15. Woody Allen has been nominated 24 times in various categories and has won 10 BAFTA awards.
16. Meryl Streep has embarrassed herself a couple of times on stage at the BAFTA awards. The funniest situation was when reading out a speech, she accidentally said, “I’d like to spank…” rather than thank, leading to the audience bursting into laughter.
17. Judi Dench has now received a BAFTA in the 1960s, 80s, 90s, 2000s and 2010s (My Week With Marilyn).
18. BAFTA’s annual film awards ceremony is known as the British Academy Film Awards, or “the BAFTAs”, and reward the best work of any nationality seen on British cinema screens during the preceding year.
19. In 1949 the British Film Academy, as it was then known, presented the first awards for films made in 1947 and 1948.
20. Since 2008 the ceremony has been held at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden, having previously been held in the Odeon cinema on Leicester Square since 2000.