EE Rising Star Award Nominations 2015

The EE Rising Star Award nominations for 2015 were announced this morning with a stellar line up of promising breakthrough stars. This year’s nominees include Jack O’Connell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Margot Robbie, Miles Teller & Shailene Woodley. A detailed review of this year’s line up below.

GUGU MBATHA-RAW landed her first major feature film in 2011, with the release of Larry Crowne, directed by Tom Hanks and co-starring Julia Roberts, and later that year was included in BAFTA’s Brits to Watch Initiative. In 2013, Mbatha-Raw starred alongside Willem Dafoe and Anton Yelchin in the Stephen Sommers directed film, Odd Thomas. In the same year, she went on to play the title role of Dido Belle, Britain’s first mixed-race aristocrat, in the period drama film Belle alongside Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson. The role was pivotal in her career earning her the Best Actress award and a nomination for Most Promising Newcomer at last year’s British Independent Film Awards. Most recently, Mbatha-Raw took on a very different role for Gina Prince-Bythwood’s Beyond The Lights as Noni, a present day pop singer torn between love, success and finding her authentic self in an exploitative industry, steered by her ambitious mother played by Minnie Driver. Mbatha-Raw has also enjoyed a prestigious television career which has so far included roles in Spooks, Dr Who, Marple – Ordeal by Innocence, Bonekickers and Fallout and has appeared on stage as Ophelia opposite Jude Law’s Hamlet.

JACK O’CONNELL became a household name when he played James Cook in popular TV series Skins which aired from 2007 and was made into a feature length episode Skins Rise in 2013. O’Connell also received critical acclaim for his punchy portrayal of Private Gary Hook in ‘71, for which he was nominated for a British Independent Film Award. The thriller, based on the troubles in Belfast, was first in competition at the Berlin Film Festival before being screened in Toronto. In 2013, O’Connell took the lead in British indie film Starred Up, where his portrayal of Eric, a violent reprobate prematurely transferred to an adult prison, earned him a nomination in the category of Best Actor at last year’s British Academy Scotland Awards as well as another nomination for a British Independent Film Award. Most recently, O’Connell took the lead role in Angelina Jolie’s film Unbroken, a chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II, which was released in December. O’Connell has also appeared in Private Peaceful (2012) and 300: Rise of an Empire (2014). Jack has recently been awarded ‘Breakthrough Performance’ by the National Board of Review for Starred Up and Unbroken and has been nominated by the London Critic’s Circle as ‘Best British Actor of the Year’. Critics and audiences eagerly await this year’s performance in Tulip Fever alongside Christoph Waltz and Holliday Grainger.

MARGOT ROBBIE was first recognized for her role as Donna Freedman in soap opera, Neighbours. This role garnered her two Logie Award nominations for Most Popular New Female Talent and Most Popular Actress. Robbie earned her place among Hollywood’s finest for her recent breakthrough role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street in which she stars as the female lead opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, and alongside other acting heavyweights including Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill and Rob Reiner. In February, Robbie will star as an up-and-coming con artist opposite Will Smith in Focus. The Warner Bros. film is directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa from a script they co-wrote.

MILES TELLER made his feature screen debut, following several short films, opposite Nicole Kidman in the film based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play, Rabbit Hole. Last year, Teller firmly established himself on the film scene with his roles in Whiplash and Divergent. Critically acclaimed American drama Whiplash received the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and Teller’s intense performance as a struggling drumming student landed him a Best Actor nomination for the 2014 Gotham Awards. Teller will play Mr. Fantastic in The Fantastic Four with Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell which will be released later this year. His previous film credits are diverse and include Footloose, Project X, 21 & Over, The Spectacular Now and That Awkward Moment in which he starred alongside Zac Efron.

SHAILENE WOODLEY found breakthrough success for her performance opposite George Clooney in the BAFTA and Academy Award-nominated film The Descendants. Woodley firmly established herself as a rising Hollywood actress when she was cast as Beatrice, the leading heroine in action adventure film Divergent, which also featured EE Rising Star nominee Miles Teller. Woodley has received critical acclaim for her tragic portrayal of a young cancer patient in the witty yet heart breaking love story The Fault in our Stars. Woodley’s TV credits include The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, and recurring roles on Crossing Jordan, The O.C. and Jack & Bobby. Among the many accolades she has received was a 2012 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress, a National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe nomination and a Critics Choice Award nomination. Shailene will soon be starring in both Insurgent and Allegient as the final two instalments of the Divergent trilogy, and will this year begin filming the lead female role opposite Joseph Gordon Levitt in Oliver Stone’s next movie Snowden.

2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the EE Rising Star Award, an award which has set a standard for identifying talent destined for future film stardom. Since being crowned the first Rising Star in 2006, James McAvoy has gone on to be nominated for two more BAFTAs and has starred in seven major award-winning films.

The other previous winners have included Eva Green in 2007, Shia LaBeouf in 2008, Noel Clarke in 2009, Kristen Stewart in 2010, Tom Hardy in 2011, Adam Deacon in 2012 and Juno Temple in 2013. Last year’s nominees were Dane DeHaan, George MacKay, Lupita Nyong’o, Léa Seydoux and the eventual winner, Will Poulter.

The jury who selected the five nominees from the hundreds suggested by BAFTA members and industry experts comprised Jury Chair Deputy Chair of BAFTA’s Film Committee, Pippa Harris, actress Alice Eve, director Dexter Fletcher, experienced film critic, James King; Game of Thrones & The King’s Speech Casting Director, Nina Gold; Film & TV Producer and Director of Entrepreneurship at the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Parminder Vir; Love Actually & Les Misérables Producer, Debra Hayward; Nanny McPhee Returns Director, Susanna White; previous Director of the UK Association of Independent Producers, Marc Samuelson; as well as leading film and arts journalists.

The EE Rising Star Award is the only award at the EE British Academy Film Awards to be voted for by the public. Voting is now open at The winner will be announced at the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday 8th February 2015.

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