Jo Hartley:  Baftas will be different this year — but 'still loads of fun'

Actor sitting on film committee says things are constantly changing with the pandemic but they will make the best of the situation
Jo Hartley:  Baftas will be different this year — but 'still loads of fun'

Jo Hartley attending last year's British Academy Film Awards in London.

The Baftas will be "different, but still loads of fun" when they finally take place later this year, actor Jo Hartley has said.

The British Academy film awards ceremony has already been pushed back from February 14 to April 11, in line with the postponement of the Oscars, and it has been announced that films going straight to VOD (video on demand), rather than waiting for a theatrical release when cinemas reopen following the coronavirus lockdown, will still be eligible for prizes.

This Is England star Hartley was joined by industry figures including actors Alicia Vikander and Naomie Ackie on the jury for the EE Rising Star award, the only Bafta voted for by the public, with previous winners including John Boyega, Tom Hardy and Letitia Wright.

She also sits on the Bafta film committee and told the PA news agency: "I'm excited to see what we are going to do and we are talking about that at the moment on the film committee.

It's going to be exciting, things are constantly changing with the pandemic and rules and regulations but I know they will always follow those guidelines and make the best of the situation. It's been a challenging time for all of the industry but there have been a lot of positives and inspiring action taken. It will be different but we are still going to have loads of fun.

"Some people are going to get some Baftas, some people are going to be nominated for some Baftas, it's a job that people love doing, and to win awards or be nominated — what an exciting cherry on top of everything, I think it will be a great ceremony."

The shortlist for the rising star prize was whittled down from a longlist by a panel of industry experts, and Hartley said: "It was a really wonderful discussion, some lovely really interesting comments, it was a great array of different industry members and talent and creatives so that was really exciting and it was a really objective and honest and effective discussion.

"It was very difficult because the long list is phenomenal, exceptional talent. It's really important to keep an open mind and so difficult, it was really hard to choose five, if I'm honest, because there are so many astonishing performances, but there are so many things that you look at and consider and sometimes you do get your mind changed a little bit. I always try to follow my intuition.

"As an actor I'm looking for performance and the range and the aspects of the preparation that's been done, or how that person has moved me, whether it's emotionally or whether it's funny. What is that star quality, what is that spark, that energy?"

The five nominees for the Bafta EE Rising Star award will be announced on March 3, 2021, when voting will be open for the public to decide the winner at www.ee.co.uk/bafta.

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