BAFTAs 2021 – The Rising Star nominees to watch

If BAFTA 2021’s EE Rising Star Award isn’t a predictor for megastardom, we don’t know what is. Past winners James McAvoy (2007), Tom Hardy (2011) and John Boyega (2016) are now household names around the globe, while 2018 winner, Daniel Kaluuya has already scooped enough awards in his short career to make even Hollywood veterans envious.

And the shortlists are no less star-studded, featuring the likes of Margot Robbie (2015), Emma Stone (2011) and Michael Fassbender (2009). Let’s look at 2021’s nominees for the Rising Star BAFTA, before they hit the big leagues.


Bukky Bakray

Why is Bukky Bakray one to watch?

We’d say BAFTA 2021 nominations for both Rising Star and Best Actress are two pretty good reasons to look out for Bukky, especially as they’re for her very first film performance. Beginner’s luck? Absolutely not. Despite earning her one award and four nominations, amazingly, her performance in coming-of-age film Rocks (2020) wasn’t just her first film role, but her first acting role whatsoever. Before Rocks, Bukky hadn’t even starred in a school play. Now, she’s eyeing Best Actress. An astounding achievement.

What is Bukky Bakray starring in next?

Bukky will lead in Ella Greenwood’s mental health-themed film Self-Charm, currently in post-production.

Kingsley Ben-Adir

Why is Kingsley Ben-Adir one to watch?

After a decade performing on stage – including a turn in Mark Rylance’s Much Ado About Nothing at London’s Old Vic – and garnering some hefty television credits, Kingsley Ben-Adir’s incredible portrayal of Malcom X in One Night In Miami... (2020) makes him a formidable contender for the Rising Star Award. His performance in the triple-Golden-Globe-nominated film has earned him five awards and 14 nominations this year already, including this one. Unsurprisingly, there’s an increasing Oscar buzz being heard, too.

What is Kingsley Ben-Adir starring in next?

It’s unclear what Kingsley will star in next right now, but if 2021 is anything to go by, his next role will be huge.

Morfydd Clark

Why is Morfydd Clark one to watch?

The Welsh actor’s profile has been on the rise for a while now, with an impressive array of TV and film roles behind her, including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) and Armando Ianucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019). Her biggest role to date, however, starring opposite Jennifer Ehle in the chilling Saint Maud (2019), has catapulted her to critical acclaim, with seven nominations and two awards so far. Listed by Screen International as ‘Star of Tomorrow’, we wouldn’t bet against BAFTA seeing Morfydd in the same light either.

What is Morfydd Clark starring in next?

Expect to see Morfydd as part of an ensemble cast in Amazon Studio’s upcoming The Lord of the Rings series.

Saint Maud | Official Trailer HD | A24

Conrad Khan

Why is Conrad Khan one to watch?

Conrad recently said his dream career outside acting was to own a stationery shop. Thankfully for film-lovers everywhere, his compelling role in coming-of-age film County Lines (2019) has earned the young actor three nominations this awards season, making it seem likely that selling pens and pencils is set to wait. What’s more, his nomination for Best Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards proves it’s not only BAFTA realising Conrad has made an award-worthy mark on the industry.

What is Conrad Khan starring in next?

Conrad will take a lead role in the final series of BBC drama Peaky Blinders, thought to be hitting TV screens later this year or early 2022.

Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù

Why is Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù one to watch?

His commanding lead performance in the chilling Netflix horror film, His House (2020), is reason alone to expect big things for Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù at this year’s awards. Add into the mix his consummate displays on stage in the RSC production of Coriolanus (2018) and on TV in Sky’s Gangs of London (2020) and it’s clear to see all-rounder Ṣọpẹ́ is only at the start of his upward trajectory into a massively successful career.

What is Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù starring in next?

You’ll see Ṣọpẹ́ starring alongside Lily-Rose Depp and Keira Knightly in forthcoming comedy Silent Night later this year.

Which of the BAFTA 2021 EE Rising Star Award nominees do you rate most? Who else deserves a nomination? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

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