Congratulations Gugu Mbatha-Raw
With the Golden Globes having ‘officially opened’ awards season on Sunday, BAFTA has released its nominations for its 2015 Awards. The Best Picture and Best British Picture categories are filled with obvious contenders, like The Imitation Game and Theory of Everything. Whilst Selma is a notable absence. Despite several Golden Globe nominations, Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo surprisingly receive no attention for the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic.
On a more positive note, Gugu Mbatha-Raw receives a nomination for the EE Rising Star Award, voted for by the public.
As with most Black British actors, Mbatha-Raw is slowly making the crossover from British television and theatre into American Film and Television. However, unlike other Black British actors, who have become acclaimed overseas before gaining recognition on home screens, Mbatha-Raw’s breakout role was in a British produced and directed film, Belle, where she breathed life and created an inner world for a young biracial woman, whose life was only known through a painting and old records. From here Mbatha-Raw has only gone up.
For her role in Belle and in Beyond the Lights, (yet to see a UK release) Gugu Mbatha-Raw has seen a plethora of awards nominations and wins. On top of her BAFTA Rising Star nomination, Mbatha-Raw has seen nominations and wins from the British Independent Film Awards, the Image Awards and the London Critics Circle Film Awards.
This year we’ll see her in the Wachowski siblings’ Jupiter Ascending and she was recently announced as one of the actors in Civil War drama, The Free State of Jones, where she will star as Rachel (a slave) alongside Matthew McConaughey’s Newton Knight. At the moment The Free State of Jones feels like a Matthew McConaughey picture, but hopefully the character of Rachel will be given the same depth and expansion that McQueen gave to Patsey, as opposed to what Tarantino cut from Broomhilda.
With Gugu Mbatha-Raw, we are lucky enough to see the ascent of a future international star. She’s ticked all the boxes that almost all mainstream British actors have ticked, with roles in Holby City, Agatha Christie’s Marple and Doctor Who. And now Mbatha-Raw has been recognized for her work by one of Britain’s greatest film institutions, BAFTA.
The actress is nominated alongside fellow British actor Jack O’Connell (Unbroken), Miles Teller (Whiplash), Shailene Woodley (The Descendants, Divergent) and Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street), a strong category of incredible actors. But the EE Rising Star Award is open to public votes and if you feel she deserves your vote, vote for her now.