BAFTA has announced this year’s crop of nominees for its EE Rising Star Award, with a handful of names in the mix whom many would consider already pretty firmly established. The group consists of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jack O’Connell, Margot Robbie, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. That there are three women in the mix is an evolution from last year’s two — a few years ago the org was criticized for selecting an entirely male roster. This is the only BAFTA award that is voted on by the British public; it honors actors and actresses “who have demonstrated exceptional talent, and are destined to be bright stars in the future of cinema.”
Mbatha-Raw recently won the British Independent Film Award as Best Actress in Belle. Her other feature credits have included Larry Crowne, Odd Thomas and Beyond The Lights, as well as TV appearances in Spooks and Dr Who. Her upcoming films include The Whole Truth and Jupiter Ascending.
O’Connell broke out in TV’s Skins and 2013’s feature Starred Up, as well as last year’s war drama ’71. He’s currently starring in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. He recently won the Best Breakthrough Performer prize from the National Board of Review and is nominated as Best British Actor by the London Critics’ Circle. O’Connell’s next role is in Tulip Fever alongside Christoph Waltz and Holliday Grainger.
Robbie, previously of TV’s Neighbours and Pan-Am, had a breakout feature role in 2013’s The Wolf Of Wall Street. She next stars opposite Will Smith in Focus.
Teller’s feature credits have included Rabbit Hole, Footloose, Project X, 21 & Over, The Spectacular Now, That Awkward Moment and Divergent. Most notably, he starred in last year’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Whiplash. He’ll next play Mr Fantastic in The Fantastic Four.
Woodley starred in the biggest sleeper hit of the summer with The Fault In Our Stars. Last year, she led Divergent and reprises that role in this year’s Insurgent. Her breakout was way back in 2011 with The Descendants for which she won the Supporting Actress Indie Spirit and National Board of Review prizes. In 2016, she’ll star in Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The Rising Star winner will be announced at the BAFTA Film Awards on February 8 in London. Voting is now open to the public at ee.co.uk/BAFTA.