Bukky Bakray was named winner of the 2021 EE Rising Star Award at Sunday’s BAFTA film awards following a public vote.
The award was presented on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in front of the virtual audience by James McAvoy, himself the winner of the first ever BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2006.
The accolade was created in honour of highly respected casting director Mary Selway whose career spanned three decades and over ninety films including those helmed by directors such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood and Ridley Scott.
Now in its sixteenth year, the award is the only one presented at the EE British Academy Film Awards to be awarded by a public vote. Bakray beat Conrad Khan, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Morfydd Clark and Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù.
The multi-award-nominated actress received critical acclaim for her debut lead performance in breakout hit Rocks, and has received nominations from the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) and London Critics Circle, and was nominated in BAFTA’s ‘Leading Actress’ category for 2021.
Bukky Bakray said: “Thank you so much BAFTA and EE, I appreciate this so much. The Highlight of this awards journey has been recognition in a category with my fellow nominees, I can’t describe how humbling and what a blessing it is to be put on the same boat as those talented human beings.
“I’ve got a special appreciation for the rocks family as well. Thank you for seeing something in me that I never saw in myself. Thank you EE for continuing to spotlight now and emerging talent
Marc Allera, CEO of EE, said: “Congratulations to Bukky for winning the hearts of the nation and taking home this year’s EE Rising Star Award. If the achievements of the previous winners are anything to go by, we’re excited to see the magic they bring to our screens next.
“With the challenges we’ve all faced this year, escaping the everyday and enjoying the world of film, brought to life through the gifts of actors like Bukky, has been more important than ever – and we’re incredibly proud to continue working alongside the British Academy to give film fans an opportunity to have their say in the only award voted for by the public.”
Emma Baehr, Executive Director of Awards & Content at BAFTA, said: “The EE Rising Star Award is all about recognising, celebrating and supporting up-and-coming talent, something that sits at the heart of everything we do at BAFTA.
“We’re so delighted to be announcing our 16th winner of the Award alongside EE as Bukky Bakray. A deserved winner amongst a fantastic list of nominees and we can’t wait to see what they all go on to do next.”