Black Panther’s Letitia Wright amongst contenders for 2019 EE Rising Star BAFTA

With awards season hotting up, the first nominations for this year’s EE Rising Star Award have been announced by BAFTA.

This year’s lineup features four Brits and one American who have each shown outstanding talent over the past year.

Firstly, we have Irish actress Jessie Buckley who first caught our attention when she played Emily Strong in three episodes of the Scottish drama Rosamunde Pilcher’s Shades of Love (2010). A few years later, she then enjoyed television success with her role as Marya Bolkonskaya¬† in the BBC adaptation of War and Peace (2016). The following year then saw her play Lorna Bow in the historical series Taboo (2017) which also starred Tom Hardy. Jessie is due to return for Series 2 which is due out later this year. Other notable television appearances included The Last Post (2017) and last year’s The Woman in White (2018).

Jessie also impressed critics with her portrayal of troubled woman Moll in the gritty drama Beast (2017) which landed her the Most Promising Newcomer accolade at the British Independent Film Awards. She also earned praise for her performance in Wild Rose (2018) and can be seen in the upcoming biopic Judy.

The second contender is London-born Cynthia Erivo whose acting breakthrough came in 2015 when she portrayed Celie in the 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple. After making numerous appearances in Chewing Gum (2015), Mr. Selfridge and The Tunnel (2016), Cynthia’s big film break came last year when she featured in two notable films. She received raves for her scene-stealing turn as singer Darlene Sweet in the thriller Bad Times at the El Roylale and then followed that up with her role as widow Belle in Steve McQueen’s heist thriller Widows.

She can next be seen in the upcoming sci-fi adventure Chaos Walking as well as portraying former slave Harriet Tubman in the much-anticipated biopic drama Harriet.

Next is Irish starlet Barry Keoghan whose film debut came in the crime drama Between the Canals (2011). After successful roles in the likes of Stay (2013), ’71 (2014), Traders (2015) and Mammal (2016), Barry then received praise for his performance as American teenager Martin in the gritty drama The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017).

He then played British soldier George in Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic Dunkirk (2017) before making an impact in last year’s crime-drama American Animals (2018). Barry’s next major project is in the upcoming Irish drama Calm with Horses.

As the only American in the lineup, Lakeith Stanfield has plenty of experience in terms of his acting C.V. His screen career began with his role as Marcus in the indie-drama Short Term 12 (2013) which also starred future Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson. After playing Jimmie Lee Jackson in the historical biopic Selma (2014), Lakeith then portrayed Snoop in the NWA drama Straight Outta Compton (2015).

After roles in Miles Ahead (2015) and Snowden (2016), he then received praise for his brief but effective performance as Andre Logan King in Jordan Peele’s hit horror Get Out (2017). Last year saw Lakeith play troubled telemarketer Cassisus Green in the indie-dramedy Sorry to Bother You (2018) and Ed Needham in the thriller The Girl in the Spider’s Web. He has also made a number of appearances as Darius in the award-winning FX sitcom Atlanta (2016-18).

Our final nominee is British-Guyanese actress Letitia Wright who enjoyed a very productive 2018. After popping up in two episodes of Holby City (2011), she then made a few appearances in the gritty series Top Boy (2011). More television roles soon followed as she starred in the likes of Banana (2015), Cucumber (2015) and Humans (2016).

In 2017, Letitia earned praise for her performance as Nish, a young traveler who comes across a disturbing museum in the acclaimed Black Mirror episode Black Museum. Her work in the episode landed her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at last year’s Emmy Awards ceremony. 2018 would provide more success for her when she played T’Challa’s creative sister Shuri in the Marvel blockbuster Black Panther. She would later reprise her role just a couple of months later in the superhero epic Avengers: Infinity War and is due to appear in the upcoming Endgame. Ironically, her two roles as Shuri made her one of the most lucrative stars on the planet in 2018.

Voting on this year’s lineup is now open. The winner will be announced at this year’s BAFTA ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 10th February.

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