The BAFTA Rising Star Award nominations are out a day early (I was going to publish my final predictions for it today, but oh well), and I must say that it is a somewhat predictable list, with 4 out of the 5 being expected. There has been some controversy about some that missed out, particularly Daisy Ridley, who many felt should have been considered, especially with her Star Wars: The Force Awakens co-star John Boyega making the cut, and Emory Cohen, who gives one of the year’s best supporting performances in John Crowley’s Brooklyn, which makes you question whether BAFTA love the film as much as many anticipate. Here’s my rundown of the nominees:
John Boyega- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Many would consider that British actor John Boyega’s breakout was in 2011’s Attack the Block, but he did undeniably become one of the most talked about actors on the planet after his role as Finn in J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi sequel Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The film is a massive hit, and is on track to become the highest grossing film of all time, and Boyega will have a massive advantage as he is in the most seen film that any of the nominees have ever starred in. Will he have support from the online community? I think so, and if he campaigns for it, he’s definitely got a good shot at winning.
Taron Egerton- Kingsman: The Secret Service, Testament of Youth, Legend
Possibly the most predictable name on the list, and one that you could have guessed in January, is that of Taron Egerton, who had a breakout year in 2015. He starred alongside Colin Firth in the cult action-comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service, a role that has brought him a lot of fans and acclaim, as well as appearing as the brother of Alicia Vikander’s Vera Brittain in the period drama Testament of Youth, and as “Mad Teddy” Smith in the Kray Twins biopic Legend, opposite Tom Hardy. With an upcoming starring role as the title character in the comedy biopic Eddie the Eagle, Egerton’s star is continuing to rise, and I can definitely see him winning here in a Will Poulter-kind of victory.
Dakota Johnson- 50 Shades of Grey, Black Mass
After first breaking out in 2010’s Oscar-winning drama The Social Network, Dakota Johnson received A-list status after appearing opposite Jamie Dornan in the box office smash hit 50 Shades of Grey. Despite the negative reviews for the film, which will almost surely see Johnson nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress, it undoubtedly put her on the map. Later in the year, she starred opposite Johnny Depp in the Gangster biopic Black Mass, and she is set to star in a number of films in 2016, including How to be Single, opposite Rebel Wilson, and A Bigger Splash, alongside Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, and Matthias Schoenaerts (who, incidentally, missed out on a deserved nomination in this category). As this award is for breakthrough actors and not critical acclaim, you can understand why she was nominated, and she could win, in the same way that Kristen Stewart did back in 2007.
Brie Larson- Room, Trainwreck
The current frontrunner to win pretty much every Best Actress award this awards season, Brie Larson’s inclusion on this list is a bit odd, not because she isn’t deserving (she most certainly is), but because she isn’t a breakout star. She actually broke out in the critically acclaimed 2013 independent film Short Term 12, for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead. She’s been acting for more than 17 years, so she isn’t necessarily new to the scene. That being said, she has had a fine year, beginning with the Judd Apatow’s Golden Globe-nominated comedy Trainwreck, in which she played the sister to Amy Schumer’s Amy. But her big break came later in the year with Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, for which she has been receiving critical acclaim across the board, and will likely earn her a second BAFTA nomination on Friday, as well as her first Oscar nomination a week on Thursday. She’ll be getting my vote, but I think she’ll have a better shot in Best Actress.
Bel Powley- A Royal Night Out, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Another expected name on the list, but a pleasing one at that, is that of Bel Powley, who has gone from a complete unknown to one of the hottest young actresses in Hollywood, following some massive successes in independent films in 2015. Her first role came in the Spring, as she portrayed Princess Margaret, opposite Sarah Gadon as Elizabeth, in the period comedy A Royal Night Out. In the summer, she broke out with her critically acclaimed performance as the titular character in The Diary of a Teenage Girl, a performance that has seen her nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead. Despite both of these films having tiny box office totals ($1.7 million for The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which was partially to do with its certification, and $4.3 million for A Royal Night Out), these films have explored the capabilities of Powley as an actor, with her showing more range than her other nominees. She’ll finish dead last, which is a shame as she deserves so much better.
You can vote for the BAFTA Rising Star Award from 10:30am GMT tomorrow. The full BAFTA nominations will be announced by Stephen Fry and Gugu Mbatha-Raw at 7:35am on Friday 8th January 2016. The ceremony will be held on Sunday 14th February 2016, and will be hosted by Stephen Fry.