BAFTA EE Rising Star nominations feature Star Wars, Peaky Blinders, and Sex Education stars

Bafta Rising Star 2023 nominees
(Image credit: Lionsgate/Sony/Netflix)

The BAFTA EE Rising Star Award nominee shortlist includes stars of 2022’s biggest films, including The Woman King’s Sheila Atim and I Wanna Dance With Somebody’s Naomi Ackie.

Also on the list are Sex Education stars Aimee Lou Wood, who recently appeared in awards-favorite Living, and Emma Mackey, star of Bronte biopic Emily. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande's Daryl McCormack, previously best known for a role in Peaky Blinders, rounds out the list. The BAFTA award is the only one voted for by the public, with the winner to be announced at February’s ceremony. 

Speaking after the announcement, Ackie tells Total Film how the timing of the nomination is particularly special as she finishes promoting her Whitney Houston biopic. "It's been a really long journey from the germination of the idea of me doing it to the end result of [I Wanna Dance With Somebody]," she explains. "I finished doing press for that Christmas, and getting this nomination in the brand new year is really lovely. It feels like a full stop at the end of a really lovely journey." 

For the actor, who came to international acclaim playing Jannah in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it also marks a new step in her career. She's set to appear in Bong Joon-ho’s mysterious new sci-fi Mickey 17, and is hoping to step behind the camera.

"I want to continue looking for the next amazing filmmaker that I want to work with and the amazing stories I want to tell," Ackie adds. "But for me as well, I'm focusing on my own projects too, I'm a writer and I've got about three projects right now that I'm trying to complete this year so I can start sharing my own stuff and becoming a filmmaker in my own right."

Bafta Rising Star nominees Sheila Atim, Naomi Ackie and Daryl McCormack

(Image credit: Nic Serpell-Rand)

McCormack is nominated off the back of a few major 2022 projects, namely Sophie Hyde’s Good Luck to You, Leo Grande with Emma Thompson. Speaking about the movie, which premiered almost a year ago at Sundance Film Festival, he tells Total Film: "It’s been really nice for it to have this kind of long life. It started so small, it was quite an intimate project with just myself, Emma, and our director, Sophie. So for it to be loved and welcomed by a wider audience has meant the world."

The actor also played Matt Claffin in Sharon Horgan’s Apple TV Plus show Bad Sisters, which landed a second season after becoming a hit with audiences. McCormack isn’t sure if he’ll be back yet, but shared an update on the show’s future.

"They're in the middle of writing everything so I’ve yet to find out," McCormack adds. "But I'm so happy to hear that it's coming back because Sharon's just done such a great job on the first season. I'm so grateful that it gets a second season."

As for the Rising Star nomination, the actor says it’s an "amazing" feeling, especially to be among such a star-filled line-up. "I can always look back to 2023 and have been the BAFTA Rising Star nominees of 2023," he adds. "It feels special because we’re all bonded through something."

Voting for the EE Rising Star Award is now open (opens in new tab) and the winner will be announced at the BAFTA Film Awards on Sunday, February 19. For more on awards season, check out our Oscars 2023 predictions.

Fay Watson

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.