Meet The BAFTA Rising Star Nominees You'll Be Seeing Everywhere In 2020

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Celebrating some of the most loved shows, films, and people to hit our screens in 2019 the the British Academy Film and TV Awards on Feb. 2 promise to be fabulous. And it’s not just a celebration of those who’ve been in the industry for years, as the BAFTA Rising Star Award and its 2020 nominees prove. Rising star insinuates that these actors are relatively new to the scene but they’re all super recognisable. Some even already have Golden Globes under their belt.

From acting alongside Tom Hardy and Rihanna, to starring in some of the most well-loved films from the past few years it takes a lot to be nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award. In 2020 the list is made up of five super talented actors who not only impressed critics but the audience too. AWKWAFINA, Kaitlyn Dever, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Jack Lowden, and Micheal Ward are this year's nominations and their combined CV and showbiz connections are out of this world. Unlike any of the other awards the public votes for the winner and you can have your say now. The winner will be announced at the 73rd awards show on Feb. 2.

AWKWAFINA

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AWKWAFINA, whose real name is Nora Lum, is the first actor who has been nominated for the Rising Star Award and she’s already turned the heads of the showbiz elite. Speaking about her nomination in a statement she said, “I’m grateful to BAFTA and the jury for the nomination and that I am able to share this recognition with so many other talented actors and actresses."

Where was she trained?

AWKWAFINA is an actor, comedian, writer, producer, and rapper. She was born and grew up in New York before attending University at Albany, State University of New York to study journalism and women's studies and Beijing Language and Culture University in China, where she studied Mandarin.

What has she been in?

AWKWAFINA rose to fame after she released the rap “My Vag” and has gone on to release two albums Yellow Ranger and In Fina We Trust. However, it’s her acting credits that caught the attention of BAFTA. She had roles in Ocean's 8 and Crazy Rich Asians as well as a leading role in the critically acclaimed The Farewell.

Awards

AWKWAFINA received the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her performance in The Farewell.

Who’s she dating?

Although she spoke about a long term boyfriend when she was touring with the cast of Oceans 8 AWKWAFINA has since tweeted saying dating is hard which suggests she’s single.

Kaitlyn Dever

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Starring opposite Beanie Feldstein in one of the funniest coming of age films to come out in 2019 Kaitlyn Dever has been nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award. She said, “it’s particularly exciting to be put forward for an award that celebrates new talent – especially when I think about the calibre of those nominated over the years. It’s a very proud moment for me.”

Where was she trained?

Dever enrolled in the Dallas Young Actors studio before moving LA at a young age to pursue her goal of acting.

What has she been in?

Dever is most well-recognised for her roles in Booksmart, and Unbelievable. She also starred alongside Steve Carrell and Timothée Chalamet in Beautiful Boy, The Front Runner, opposite Hugh Jackman, and Detroit.

Awards

Impressively Dever was nominated for a Golden Globe for her incredibly moving performance in Unbelievable. She was recognised by the Hollywood Critics Association as a young Breakthrough Artist for her role in Booksmart.

Who’s she dating?

While Dever has made it clear that she may not be dating anyone romantically right now she did have a pretty awesome date with her at the Golden Globes. She turned up, looking absolutely amazing, with castmate and real life pal Beanie Feldstein.

Kelvin Harrison Jr

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Kelvin Harrison Jr may be relatively soon into his acting career but he’s already creating Oscar buzz based on his most recent parts. It’s little surprise that he’s been dominated for the Rising Star Award and he said, “I have followed this award since it began and the nominees have always made up a really impressive list. I feel honoured to be counted among them.”

Where did he train?

Harrison Jr was born and raised in New Orleans. He initially studied studied jazz at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts before realising his passion for acting.

What has he been in?

Despite being nominated in the Rising Star category, Harrison Jr has got a seriously long CV. He played opposite Octavia Spencer, Tim Roth and Naomi Watts in Luce. He’s also perhaps best known for his roles in Comes At Night and Mudbound.

Awards

Harrison Jr has already achieved serious critical acclaim for his work. He received a Gotham Independent Film award nomination for Breakthrough Actor for Comes At Night and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Luce. He’s starred Waves and there’s already ripples and whispers of Oscar success for the drama.

Who’s he dating?

If there is any romance on the cards for Harrison Jr he's keeping it under wraps. With a very busy 2020 ahead of him Harrison Jr has admitted he's keeping his priorities in order. In an interview with IndieWire he said, "I’ve come to realise that I need to feel safe, and that whoever I’m working with gets me, and can support me. It’s just about finding people that understand my experience, and love me genuinely, and want to see a young black man thrive in this business.“

Jack Lowden

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Jack Lowden has had a super varied acting career to this date. While he was first recognised for his talents on stage he’s made the step over to film and TV. Speaking about the BAFTAs he said, “watching the BAFTA Film Awards has always been one of the highlights of my year so it’s incredible to think I’ll be there next month waiting to hear who the public have voted as their winner.”

Where did he train?

It’d seem Lowden had the acting bug since day one as he performed throughout his childhood in Scotland. He attended a Bachelor of Aart from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow in 2011.

What have he been in?

If you don’t recognise Lowden’s face right now it’s likely you will by the end of 2020. He’s as much stage actor as he is screen and he has starred in Dunkirk, Mary Queen of Scots, Fighting With My Family, and Calibre. Soon he will appear opposite Tom Hardy in Cordivae and Fonzo and will go on to appear in Steve McQueens anthology Small Axe with John Boyega and Letitia Wright.

Awards

No stranger to the BAFTAs Lowden has already won a Scottish BAFTA for his role in Calibre. He also won a prestigious Olivier Award for his part in Ghost.

Who’s he dating?

While there’s no confirmation the Daily Mail said that Lowden may be dating Oscar-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan. The pair worked on Mary Queen of Scots together and have since been spotted holding hands around London together.

Michael Ward

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From starring in one of Netflix’s most popular series to taking the lead role in one of the most anticipated films of 2019 Micheal Ward’s career skyrocketed over the last year. “the last two years have been unbelievable,” he said, “and now to find out that my industry has recognised my work and put me up for the EE Rising Star Award, really is the most amazing thing to happen."

Where did he train?

Born in Jamaica and growing up in Essex, Ward modelled for brands like JD Sport as well as appearing in music videos before entering the world of acting. However, within two short years he’d landed himself two roles that would send him to the BET Awards in Atlanta.

What have he been in?

Ward is potentially most recognisable for playing Jamie in Netflix’s Top Boy. At the end of 2019, he also starred in Paramount’s Blue Story playing one of two boys from opposing postcodes who form a friendship that’s quickly challenged. Speaking about his roles in a Guardian interview he said, “you feel like you’re something bigger than yourself. Because there are really people living this life and you’re showing that and you want to be able to help them. It’s a lot of pressure. You’re speaking for a whole culture. But also you’ve got to be careful.”

Who’s he dating?

If Ward has got any leading ladies in his life he’s keeping it all very private. However, as fans wait for another season of Top Boy to be released there’s no doubt he’s going to have a very busy 2020.