One of the big awards shows, among many, inserted into the awards race now is the BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Awards. When I first started, in 1999, no one in the Oscar race paid any attention to the BAFTAs because they were held after the Oscars. This put a healthy divide between the two groups and really did seem to mean — this is what THEY thought, rather than they trying to influence or match the Oscars, as most groups now do. But they switched their date in 2000 to be held before the Oscars and now they’re just one of the precursors on the road to Oscar.
The British invasion is a notable strain that runs through the Oscars and always has done. While America has, I think, produced some of the best film directors in the world, the Brits really influence the actors branch, the biggest voting block in the Academy. They used to be known for not so much matching Oscar as being able to push through movies like The Pianist, or an acting contender like Marion Cotillard. But once Oscar shifted its date from March back to February, and all of the awards shows then shifted their dates back, you had near-uniform voting across the board. You have to go back to 2008 to find a year that didn’t match up with Oscar’s Best Picture when Atonement won.