Bafta rising star nods for Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jack O’Connell

Dido and Starred Up actors among nominees for prestigious award, which honours future stars of cinema

An actor who found fame in Skins, a former star of Neighbours and an actress who once played Ophelia to Jude Law’s Hamlet are among the nominees for this year’s EE Bafta rising star award.

The five actors nominated for the prestigious award, which honours the future stars of cinema, include Brits Jack O’Connell, who began his career in the E4 drama Skins in 2007 and this year took the lead role in the Angelina Jolie-directed feature Unbroken, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, already an established name on stage and television, who was named best actress at this year’s British Independent Film Awards for her portrayal of Dido Elizabeth Belle in the period drama Belle.

Jack O'Connell, centre, as Eric Love in Starred Up
Jack O’Connell, centre, as Eric Love in Starred Up Photograph: PR

The winner of the award, which is in its 10th year, will be decided by public vote and announced next month at a Bafta ceremony hosted by Stephen Fry.

O’Connell, who also appeared in the 2014 prison drama Starred Up and thriller ’71, set in Belfast during the Troubles, said he was “honoured to be considered … especially for films I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a part of”.

Margot Robbie and Bill Night in About Time
Margot Robbie in About Time Photograph: PR

Other nominees include Australian actor Margot Robbie, who began her career playing Donna Freedman in the long-running soap Neighbours and made her name in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street opposite Leonard DiCaprio, and Shailene Woodley, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in the 2011 film The Descendants, starring George Clooney, and took the lead role in the 2014 film adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars. Miles Teller, who has received critical praise for his lead performance as a drumming student in the film Whiplash, is also in the running for the award.

Shailene Woodley in Divergent
Shailene Woodley in Divergent. Photograph: Jaap Buitendijk

Commenting on his nomination, Teller said he was “very proud to represent Whiplash and all those who worked incredibly hard on such a wonderfully fulfilling gem of a film. The ovation it received at the London Film Festival remains one of my proudest moments as a young actor.”

The winner of the rising star award will join previous recipients including Eva Green, Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Juno Temple. Last year’s winner, Will Poulter, is set to star in The Revenant, out this year, opposite DiCaprio and Hardy.

Miles Teller as music student Andrew in Whiplash.
Whiplash actor Miles Teller. Photograph: Sony Pictures

The award is not restricted to cinema newcomers and all the nominees are working on a diverse range of future projects, many due for release this year. O’Connell, 24, is set to star in the 17th-century romance Tulip Fever, while Robbie appear alongside Will Smith in the romantic comedy Focus. Teller will play Mr Fantastic in the next Fantastic Four film.

Woodley, meanwhile, has a long list of forthcoming Hollywood roles – including the final two films in the fantasy Divergent trilogy – and will this year begin filming on Oliver Snow’s biopic of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, in which she will play his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills.

Voting is open to the public at


Hannah Ellis-Petersen

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Bafta to review voting system after diversity row
Film academy admits change needed after lack of female and BAME nominees for awards

Lanre Bakare Arts and culture correspondent

09, Jan, 2020 @4:33 PM

Article image
Bafta film and TV awards introduce new casting category
Both screen awards strands will recognise crucial work of casting directors in assembling exciting teams and promoting diversity

Andrew Pulver

07, Aug, 2019 @3:08 PM

Article image
How Bafta spent two weeks grappling with Noel Clarke dilemma
Academy says it was in ‘impossible’ situation, but it faces questions over delays in offering safeguarding to alleged victims

Sirin Kale and Lucy Osborne

30, Apr, 2021 @5:09 PM

Article image
Bafta deputy chair defends decision to honour Noel Clarke
Pippa Harris says she stands by senior academy figures after ‘extremely difficult’ affair

Kevin Rawlinson

05, May, 2021 @7:30 PM

Article image
Oscar-tipped Timothée Chalamet nominated for Bafta rising star award
American who starred in gay drama Call Me By Your Name is shortlisted alongside three British actors

Mark Brown

04, Jan, 2018 @11:47 AM

Article image
Harry Potter wins big at Bafta children's awards

Animated shows Peppa Pig and The Amazing World of Gumball were also awarded at the Bafta ceremony. By Keith Stuart

Keith Stuart

28, Nov, 2011 @12:36 PM

Article image
Bafta report blames homogenised culture and 'class ceiling' for lack of diversity
Study finds that an environment of ‘fitting in’ and ‘who you know’ remains major barrier to increasing diversity

Catherine Shoard

07, Feb, 2017 @9:30 AM

Article image
Baftas 2015: Boyhood wins top honours but Grand Budapest Hotel checks out with most
Richard Linklater’s 12-year labour of love collects best picture, but Wes Anderson’s comic fable wins big with five awards

Mark Brown

08, Feb, 2015 @9:15 PM

Article image
Bafta Shorts 2017 review – a bright, broad-minded movie medley
The shorts vying for this year’s award are a varied selection that tell stories of Europe’s migrant crisis, factories in China and Troubles-era Belfast

Peter Bradshaw

22, Feb, 2017 @10:15 PM

Article image
Helen Mirren criticises British television for rising female body count
On eve of receiving highest Bafta honour, actress hits out at increasing number of TV murder victims who are young women

Vanessa Thorpe, arts and media correspondent

15, Feb, 2014 @7:24 PM