Tonight is the BAFTA awards, the biggest movie night of the year here in the UK, though elsewhere probably just a foretaste of the bigger, glitzier and more star-studded Academy Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles.
I like BAFTA, especially its stylish but unpretentious clubhouse in Picadilly; one of the few places in the West End of London where you can actually get a drink and a seat on a friday night. Graham the barman is always welcoming and they even throw in free WiFi to make the whole experience a pleasure.
The only burden of membership (and it is hardly a burden) is having to vote. Just before Christmas, Santa (aka St Bafta, patron saint of film-makers) brings endless bags of swag in the form of DVD screeners, each distributor vying to compete for votes. Of course, you can't possibly watch them all - who has time? But this year, for some reason, the voting rules have changed. Now, to vote in the final round, you have to have watched all the films in each category. Who has time for this? certainly not me.
I bumped into a BAFTA member last night at a dinner and asked him - how many categories did you actually manage to vote in? None, he said. Me neither, I replied. Neither one of us could actually vote for any films since we hadn't watched all of them. So who is voting? we asked. Presumably only members with a lot of time on their hands - who can watch all the films.
I'm curious to know how many members are in the same boat - unable to vote because the rules are now so restrictive.
And, if we get some odd results tonight - you'll know why.