1999

Outstanding Debut Film: That all important first feature...
Getting a first feature film made is a huge achievement. It sets a high bar that only the most dogged achieve. And so in 1999 the Academy launched an award for Most Promising Newcomer, specifically designed to reward those working behind the camera to bring an idea to the screen.

Originally, the award was named after American screenwriter Carl Foreman, who had come to the UK to work having been blacklisted by the infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities in the 1950s, and then set to work helping develop British writing talent. Now, the award is named Outstanding Debut, with a remit to recognise creative innovation from a director, writer or producer on their first feature film.

The list of winners reads like a collection of the best British filmmakers of recent years, with names including Asif Kapadia, Joe Wright, Andrea Arnold, Steve McQueen and Lynne Ramsey. In 2017, winners of the Outstanding Debut Award screened in cinemas around the country as part of BAFTA's 70th anniversary celebrations.

Image: Director Steve McQueen, winner of the Outstanding Debut Award for Hunger (2008) at the British Academy Film Awards in 2009.



1
BAFTA Archive/Ellis Parrinder

Video: Host Jonathan Ross introduces Thandie Newton to present the Award for Outstanding Debut to Director Steve McQueen, in recognition of his debut film, Hunger (2008) (Source: BAFTA).