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EE Rising Star Award Nominees Announced Ahead of the EE BAFTA Film Awards

During a press conference celebrated at The Savoy hotel in London today, the five nominees were announced for this year’s EE Rising Star Award – now in its 18th year.

BAFTA CEO Jane Millichip and film broadcaster Edith Bowman hosted the press conference, during which the anxiously awaited list of nominees was unveiled. The nominees are five actors who have all proven their extraordinary talent over the past year, captivating audiences and the film industry alike.

So, without further ado, this year’s EE Rising Star Award nominees are:

NAOMI ACKIE

Naomi Ackie can currently be seen in cinemas, taking on the iconic role of global superstar ‘Whitney Houston’ in Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody, a new feature film about the late singer’s life. The BAFTA award winning actor has also most recently completed filming a leading role in Zoë Kravitz’s directorial debut Pussy Island, as well as for Mickey 17, from award-winning Parasite director Bong Joon-Ho, alongside Toni Collette, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Pattinson. In 2019, Naomi took on the role of ‘Jannah’ in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final instalment in the Skywalker saga, for which she was selected by The Hollywood Reporter for its ‘Next Generation’ portfolio, People Magazine for its ‘Ones to Watch’ and ELLE Magazine for its ‘Hollywood Rising’ section. For television, she took on a leading role and served as Executive Producer in the third series of the multi-award-winning Master of None and in 2020 won a BAFTA award for her role of ‘Bonnie’ in the second series of the cult television series “The End of the F***ing World.” Naomi also won a British Independent Film Award for ‘Most Promising Newcomer’ and was named as one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow in 2017 for her film debut and ‘quietly stunning role’ of ‘Anna’ in Lady Macbeth.

Commenting on her nomination, Ackie said: “I’ve followed and been inspired by the EE BAFTA Film Awards for so many years, so to be recognised amongst this incredible group of artists is HUGE! This nod from the EE Rising Star jury, and to be recognised for my work in the country that I’ve grown up in, is also a nod of encouragement, to continue to create stories that speak to people. What a beautiful experience to be a part of.”

SHEILA ATIM

Sheila Atim stars in the recently released historical epic feature film The Woman King, alongside Academy Award-winner Viola Davis, and previous EE Rising Star winners, Lashana Lynch and John Boyega. 2022 also saw Sheila’s debut in the Marvel cinematic universe, appearing as ‘Sara’ in Doctor Strange & The Multiverse of Madness alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen. Sheila has made a considerable impact on the London theatre scene, not only as an actress but also as a singer, playwright and composer. In 2018, Sheila won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her breakout performance as ‘Marianne Laine’ in Girl from the North Country at the Old Vic Theatre. She was also named as a Screen Star of Tomorrow in 2021, one of Variety’s ’10 Brits to Watch’ in 2020 and was awarded an MBE for services to drama in 2019.

Commenting on her nomination, Atim said: “I’m grateful to the EE Rising Star Award for continuing to highlight the contributions of emerging talent in our industry. This public-voted award is truly an award of the people and a joyous celebration between artist and audience. Thank you to BAFTA for listing me alongside this year’s wonderful group, adding to the esteemed rostrum of nominees past”

AIMEE LOU WOOD

Aimee Lou Wood is a BAFTA award-winning actress best known for her portrayal of ‘Aimee Gibbs’ in television series 1 to 3 of “Sex Education.” Aimee stars alongside Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa and Gillian Anderson in the show and won a BAFTA for ‘Best Female Comedy Performance’ for her role. Most recently, Aimee appeared in Oliver Hermanus’ latest feature, Living, currently in cinemas across the UK and USA, starring Bill Nighy. Living premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2022 and has since been screened at Venice, Toronto and London Film Festival to largely critical praise. Prior to this, Aimee played ‘Claire Wain’ in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, directed by Will Sharpe, narrated by Olivia Colman and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy. Aimee was also recently nominated for a BAFTA Cymru Award for ‘Best Actress’ for her performance in On The Edge: Mincemeat. Aimee is about to start her run as ‘Sally Bowles’ in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, and prior to this starred in Uncle Vanya at The Harold Pinter Theatre, receiving critical acclaim.

Commenting on her nomination, Wood said: “I am totally thrilled! Thank you BAFTA and EE. I love how this special award draws attention to emerging talent and I’m always so excited to see who the nominees are when they’re announced. To be included this year is very surprising and a real pinch me moment. I feel extremely grateful and moved to be here amongst such wonderful people!”

EMMA MACKEY

Emma Mackey is a BAFTA nominated French / British actor with multiple film and television projects in development. Next, Emma features in Barbie opposite Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, scheduled for worldwide release in July. Currently, audiences in the UK can see Emma as the titular character in Emily, a film re-imagining the life of Emily Brontë. Emily had its World Premiere when it opened the Platform Competition at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and will release in the US this spring. Emma is perhaps best known for her BAFTA-nominated leading role as ‘Maeve Wiley’ in the television series, “Sex Education” alongside Ncuti Gatwa and Aimee Lou Wood. Last year Emma starred in her first French language role, that of ‘Adrienne Bourgès’ in the César nominated Eiffel, and also appeared as ‘Jacqueline de Bellefort’ in Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile, starring Gal Gadot, Tom Bateman and Ali Fazal. 

Commenting on her nomination, Mackey said: “I am so grateful to BAFTA and EE for including me in this category. Being able to tell stories and make films is already such a blessing. To be nominated alongside these wonderful actors and for us all to be noticed by such a respected and inspiring institution is very humbling indeed.”

DARYL MCCORMACK

Daryl McCormack is well known for his lead role in British comedy-drama Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, opposite Emma Thompson. Following the film’s premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2022, it was released in UK cinemas in November to critical acclaim. Up next for Daryl is the thriller feature The Tutor, alongside Richard E Grant and Julie Delpy for Bleecker Street. Daryl also joined the season 5 cast of “Peaky Blinders” as a preacher’s son, taking over the role of ‘Isaiah Jesus’ from Jordan Bolger, and returned for the 6th iteration aired on the BBC in February 2022. Last year, Daryl then featured as ‘Matt Cafflin’ in Sharon Horgan’s dark comedy television series, Bad Sisters. Up next for Daryl is a co-lead role in the television series, “The Woman in the Wall”, alongside Ruth Wilson. Daryl was named by Screen International as one of their 2021 ‘Stars of Tomorrow’, and The Hollywood Reporter for its 2022 ‘Next Gen’ talent list.

Commenting on his nomination, McCormack said: “For as long as I can remember, I have followed those recognised by the BAFTA EE Rising Star category as a source of inspiration. To hear that I stand in the company of the past and present nominees is an incredible honour. Thank you, sincerely, to the jury.”

This year, the EE Rising Star Award jury panel was tasked with selecting the 2023 nominees from a comprehensive list of talented actors. The jury met at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly in November where they whittled down the longlisted names to the five nominees that will go head-to-head in the public vote ahead of the 2023 EE BAFTA Film Awards.

The jury, chaired by Anna Higgs, BAFTA Film Committee Chair, featured actors Hayley Atwell, Joe Cole and Jason Flemyng, casting directors Lucy Bevan (The Batman), Leo Davis (The Queen and A Very English Scandal) and senior talent agent Ikki El-Amriti (Identity Agency Group), alongside leading industry specialists and film, arts and entertainment journalists.

Voting is now open at ee.co.uk/BAFTA and the winner will be announced at the EE BAFTA Film Awards which will be broadcast on Sunday 19th February 2023 at 19:00-21:00hrs on BBC One and iPlayer, from the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London.

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