While the BAFTA 2022 movie price list is set to be released on Wednesday, the first round of voting closed at 6 p.m. UK time (10 a.m. PT) on Monday, January 3.

Except no.

Due to “technical issues” on BAFTA’s dedicated online voting platform which saw many voters receive error messages when trying to login or submit their votes on a site that was functioning much better slowly than usual, the time limit was extended by 18 hours.

According to a BAFTA representative, the fault – blamed on the influx of people wanting to vote at the last minute (and a UK public holiday that was the last day before most people returned to work after the late summer holidays year) – has actually been resolved. in time for the deadline, but the organization decided to extend it anyway.

While the problem has undoubtedly seen a few angry voices rise in front of laptop screens and perhaps some strange hand gestures, it is not the worst problem in the world. BAFTA says all votes submitted during the counted period.

However, this is not the only technological issue its members have faced, as the British Academy is taking an all-digital path for filmmakers and voters.

The main target of criticism has been BAFTA View, the online platform that BAFTA launched in 2020 for the 2021 awards seasons and on which all eligible submitted films are available to stream. One of the main reasons for the portal – three years in development – was the industry-wide abandonment of shipping physical DVDs, an environmentally unfriendly process that was also extremely costly for distributors. without large pockets. ‘Leveling the playing field’ was one of the phrases frequently used during the major overhaul of voting procedures that BAFTA unveiled in 2020 following a groundbreaking review process, and BAFTA View was a key part of it. .

While the 2021 awards season was BAFTA View’s first year of operation, DVD screens were still an option. For 2022, DVDs have been completely phased out. And it was this year – the first real test of BAFTA View – that saw a number of BAFTA members criticize the service, a service that has become even more essential with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic hampering participation in events. in-person screening.

The main complaint is the need for an HDMI cable connecting to a laptop to stream or mirror to a TV. While many smaller distributors have uploaded their movies directly to the portal, which allows for wireless streaming via Airplay on Apple TV or smart TVs, piracy issues have seen all of the major companies using their own online platforms or platforms. third-party platforms, to which BAFTA View then refers. . Since they have built-in anti-piracy software, such wireless streaming is not possible.

“I refuse to plug in a long HDMI cable because we have small children running around,” said a BAFTA member. Hollywood journalist. “And I can’t fit it into the TV anyway because it’s mounted on the wall – I don’t know how I would do it.”

The same member – who wishes to remain anonymous – said that although he had watched a few movies (including Licorice Pizza) on his computer, he felt compelled to do so, and it was an approach that forced him to exclude certain films. “My rule of thumb is that if he doesn’t play through Airplay, I won’t watch him.”

The member is not alone. On a private Facebook group for BAFTA members, several strongly criticized the need for cables, which was the recommended solution BAFTA provided in emails. One member explained that he had to find a matching mat to lay his “long ugly HDMI cable” so it wouldn’t be a trip hazard, while another said he “gave in” and asked someone to install a cable that now hangs from the bottom of their wall mounted television.

But interior design and health and safety aspects aren’t the only concerns. Other complaints cited on the Facebook page include movies (including some of the bigger titles) on the platform that simply won’t play after repeated attempts, a site that regularly crashes and restarts playing from the beginning. , very different encoding rates that often result in poor quality images, the need to activate pop-ups and ad blockers depending on the browser used, and that classic streaming, the spinning wheel that comes from setting buffered.

Away from the technical issues, several noted the fact that some films were added to the platform extremely late in the process. In the case of Spider-Man: No Path Home, it was due to land on December 30, just four days before the voting closes, but never made it to BAFTA View due to piracy issues at Sony. BAFTA has since revealed that as such, the blockbuster “did not meet the eligibility criteria” for the 2022 film awards (but did not do so until Jan. 10 after the vote closed, a decision which has been criticized because it meant that many members who saw it in theaters may have voted for). Other films – including that of Michael B. Jordan A Journal for Jordan – were, for some reason, only available on BAFTA View with added subtitles (something BAFTA apologized for).

The general feeling among those who challenge BAFTA View has been one of undue complications and frustration (one member claimed they had literally joined the Facebook group to see if they were “the one raging in despair”), many simply giving up and watching – and judging – some of last year’s most acclaimed movies on their laptops (or even, in at least one reported case, on a phone). Some have posted apparent solutions, noting particular browsers that appeared to work or a combination of apps and a Chromecast dongle. A couple even made suggestions, wondering why BAFTA hadn’t used websites that had already been tried and tested to deliver content safely, like Screeners.com. One member, who claims to have considerable expertise in streaming technology, said BAFTA has continuously rejected their offer of help.

Boredom aside, the crux of these issues, according to many of those who have voiced concerns, is that these voting members watched fewer movies than they normally would. The anonymous voter THR said there were “at least a dozen movies” they would have watched if they could, including several movies that were in their “recommended” category, a new initiative rolled out the year last by BAFTA to help ensure as many of the headlines are watched whenever possible.

In response, BAFTA acknowledges that problems exist and says it has provided technical support, but argues that the number of people who have been troubled by the issues is far outnumbered by the number who had no problem watching. one of 215 films in dispute this year. Indeed, the 30 or so people who were involved in the discussions on the BAFTA members’ Facebook page represent only a small proportion of the nearly 7,000 voting members of BAFTA films. That said, THR spoke to several members who have strongly criticized BAFTA View and said they haven’t watched some titles, but haven’t broadcast these frustrations online. As one of them simply put it: “BAFTA View has been a nightmare. “

Regarding the issue of the decrease in the number of movies watched, a representative from BAFTA says their numbers show that exactly the opposite has happened. “From what we are seeing in terms of numbers, the total number of views on BAFTA View has increased significantly,” said the representative, noting that unlike the 2020/2021 season, this was during a year the distributors showed up in person. projections. “And the really important thing for us is that we saw an increase in the average number of movies watched by each voter, which was the real goal of the review.”

Although there are no updated BAFTA View figures available, in an email sent in mid-December – ahead of the traditional Christmas frenzy – it was stated that “over 60,000 films have already been watched. », Each member watching 11 films. each on average.

While some have lamented the loss of DVDs and their ease of use, for BAFTA there is no going back with the all-digital approach as it tries to be “fairer and more sustainable in terms of environmental “, according to the representative, while moving forward. with “leveling the playing field and ensuring that titles can be viewed the same way and watched by more people”.

BAFTA is, it should be noted, a charity and has limited resources that it can invest in BAFTA View, a platform that is only one year old. There is a certain sense that the portal is a work in progress that will be continually developed and improved, something that is unlikely to appease those who have struggled with it this year, especially those who claim to have reached out to it. offers of help.

It remains to be seen if and how these technical issues will impact the nomination lists released on Wednesday. If this is such a negligible problem as BAFTA suggests, then it is unlikely. However, while this has been more prevalent, given that streaming complications have primarily involved third-party online platforms used by studios to which BAFTA View is linked, there may be an unexpected ripple effect. The BAFTA member says, “So that can actually help small independent films, which I got to see more of. “