The BAFTA Rising Star Award is an important award because it’s voted by the people, for the people. 2016 has an impressive line-up of nominees for the accolade which has previously been taken home by the likes of James McAvoy, Kristen Stewart, Tom Hardy, Juno Temple, Will Poulter and Jack O’Connell.
John Boyega, Taron Egerton, Dakota Johnson, Brie Larson and Bel Powley have been selected by a jury that includes Jonathan Ross and Olivia Coleman. Voting will open to the public at ee.co.uk/BAFTA at 10.30am on Wed 6th January – and everyone who votes will be in with a chance to win a VIP BAFTA experience.
Here’s a rundown on the actors, and what they had to say about their nomination…
John Boyega was cast as the lead role in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, which premiered at the end of last year. Boyega had his screen debut in the critically acclaimed BBC series, Becoming Human, where he starred as Danny Curtis the school bully in four episodes. His first foray into feature films was playing the lead in cult sci-fi film, Attack the Block, which opened SXSW in 2011, collecting a plethora of international awards. From there he went on to star as the lead in HBO drama, Da Brick, directed by Spike Lee, he was the lead in BBC film, My Murder, and filmed a feature length drama, The Whale alongside Martin Sheen. More recently John has starred in feature film, Half of a Yellow Sun alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor and several episodes of the hit TV series, 24: Live Another Day. In 2014, he was the lead in Sundance Award Winning feature film, Imperial Dreams and provided the voice for Major Lazer’s animated TV series.
John Boyega, commenting on his nomination, said: “Thank you to BAFTA and the jury. I’m honoured to be considered for the EE Rising Star Award in this company. What a great way to start the new year.”
Taron Egerton trained at RADA and his first role was on stage in The Last Of The Haussmans at the National Theatre. He recently starred as the lead role of Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin in Matthew Vaughn’s box office smash hit Kingsman: The Secret Service opposite Colin Firth, Michael Caine and Samuel L Jackson and in Testament of Youth, based on the life of Vera Brittain. Taron can be seen as Edward “Mad Teddy” Smith opposite Tom Hardy in Legend, a biopic feature about the Kray twins. 2016 will see Taron take the title role in the film Eddie The Eagle, opposite Hugh Jackman, which is due for release in the Spring. Alongside Matthew McConaughey, Egerton has leant his voice to new musical animation comedy Sing which will also hit cinemas in 2016. Next year he will be begin filming for the much anticipated second Kingsman film and opposite Ansel Elgort in a movie version of Billionaires Boys Club.
Taron Egerton, commenting on his nomination, said: “I am delighted to be nominated for the EE Rising Star Award. It is such an honour to be recognised in this way and I am proud and excited to be following in the footsteps of some incredibly talented previous nominees.”
Dakota Johnson played the coveted role of “Anastasia Steele” in the feature adaptation of E.L. James novel and worldwide phenomenon, Fifty Shades of Grey.
She then landed a role opposite Johnny Depp in the Whitey Bulger Biopic, Black Mass. Her most recent starring role was in Luca Guadagnino’s remake of “La Piscine” entitled A Bigger Splash, alongside Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes. Johnson will star alongside Rebel Wilson in the upcoming comedy, How To Be Single. Dakota first burst on the scene with her performance in critically acclaimed film, The Social Network and went on to play roles in the feature comedies The Five Year Engagement and 21 Jump Street with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.
Dakota Johnson, commenting on her nomination, said: “I am thoroughly stunned, and honoured to be acknowledged with an EE Rising Star Award nomination. Thank you, I am truly grateful.”
Brie Larson garnered numerous awards and nominations for her performance in Short Term 12, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton as Grace, the director of a foster care facility. Most recently she starred as Ma in the harrowing film adaptation of Emma Donaghue’s best-selling novel, Room. Larson was seen in the 2015 breakout hit, Trainwreck opposite Amy Schumer and in 2014, she co-starred in The Gambler, opposite Mark Wahlberg. Prior to that she was seen in The Spectacular Now opposite Shailene Woodley, playing Miles Teller’s seemingly perfect girlfriend, as well as Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, playing the cynical/ realist sister of Joseph’s character. Larson was seen in the hugely successful film, 21 Jump Street as the love interest to Jonah Hill, and received rave reviews for her supporting role in the Oren Moverman film Rampart, playing the incorrigible, defiant daughter of Woody Harrelson, a dirty cop in the Los Angeles’ Rampart division. Last year, it was announced that Larson would star in Kong: Skull Island and in Martin Scorsese executive produced ‘70s crime thriller, Free Fire, opposite Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy and Armie Hammer.
Brie Larson, commenting on her nomination, said: “Thank you BAFTA, for the EE Rising Star Award nomination in support of Room. I’m very honoured to be in the company of esteemed peers, past and present.”
Bel Powley most recently seen starring in the award winning, coming-of-age drama The Diary of a Teenage Girl. In her American film debut, Powley plays a brutally honest teenage artist living in San Francisco in the 1970s as she attempts to navigate her way through an affair with her mother’s boyfriend. Powley also recently starred alongside Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart romantic drama set in a futuristic utopian society; Equals. In 2015, she also wrapped production on Detour; a psychological thriller about a grieving law student who, in an act of desperation, hatches a plot to murder his corrupt and abusive stepfather. Powley plays Cherry, a prostitute who lends Harper a helping hand. She also starred in A Royal Night Out opposite Sarah Gadon, Jack Reynor, Rupert Everett and Emily Watson. Her previous credits include a starring role in the CBBC’s show M.I.High and appearances on UK shows Benidorm, Murderland, Little Dorrit and The Whistleblowers.
Bel Powley, commenting on her nomination, said: “I’ve watched and respected the BAFTAs and the EE Rising Star Award since I was very young, so I can’t quite believe this is happening! I am incredibly thankful to the jury and to BAFTA for recognising my work. I really love what I do.”
The winner will be announced at the EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony on Sunday 14th February 2016