We may have to wait until tomorrow to discover which actors, films, directors and writers are to be nominated for the 2014 British Academy Film Awards, but the short-list for the EE Rising Star Award has already been announced. It’s an international affair this year, with the UK, Kenya, France and the US represented.
The EE Rising Star Award is the only one voted for by the British public, and recognises the talents who broke through to gain critical acclaim in 2013. The short-list, which was decided by a group of jurors including Gemma Arterton and the film critic Mark Kermode, has selected British actors Will Poulter and George MacKay, French actress, Léa Seydoux, Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o and American actor Dane DeHaan as contenders.
Let’s start with the two Brits:
Will Poulter first caught our attention when he portrayed Lee Carter in 2008’s hilarious British comedy, Son of Rambow. He went on to star in the TV series School of Comedy (for which he wrote sketches), played Eustace Scrubb in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and showed his grit in Dexter Fletcher’s Wild Bill. His scene-stealing turn in US comedy We’re the Millers has also helped him onto the short-list.
I recall first seeing George MacKay as Curly in 2003’s Peter Pan. He’s grown a lot since then and has had numerous TV and film roles, including Aron Bielski in the Daniel Craig star-vehicle Defiance. Critics were impressed with his performance in the British musical film Sunshine on Leith, and he was given an award by BAFTA Scotland for his performance in For Those in Peril. He was last seen starring opposite Saoirse Ronan in How I Live Now.
Léa Seydoux recently starred as Emma in the critically acclaimed film Blue is the Warmest Colour. She’s been working a long time though, most notably the roles of Charlotte LaPardite in Inglorious Basterds, Gabrielle in 2011’s Midnight in Paris, and Sabine Moreau in US blockbuster Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. She can next be seen as La Belle in Beauty and the Beast and she won the role of Clotilde in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Everyone is raving about 12 Years a Slave and it’s barely known supporting cast member, Lupita Nyong’o. The Mexican-born Kenyan actress and filmmaker made her film début in Steve McQueen’s brutal drama about a free man forced into slavery, and has already gained Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for her portrayal of Patsey. Interestingly, she was a production runner for The Constant Gardner and will next portray Gwen in the up-coming Liam Neeson actioner Non-Stop.
Dane DeHann began his career as a television actor, taking a guest role in True Blood and starring in In Treatment, before he moved onto films like Lawless and a small part in Lincoln. Many consider his portrayal of Lucien Carr in Kill Your Darlings to be the main draw of the film. He will next be seen as Zach Orfman in Life After Beth, and will portray Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Vote for your Rising Star on the BAFTA website.