On 4th January we were at the prestigious BAFTA headquarters for the announcement of nominations for the 2018 EE Rising Star Award. There to introduce the pioneering award and the nominees were BAFTA CEO, Amanda Sonia Berry, previous winner Juno Temple and the brilliant film broadcaster Edith Bowman.

The award aims to celebrate actors who have shown exceptional talent and captured the attention of the public and film industry on the big screen over the past 12 months, with previous winners including Tom Holland, John Boyega, Kristen Stewart and Tom Hardy. It’s also the only BAFTA award open to public vote.

For this year, in the running were Josh O’Connor whose role in the wildly successful Yorkshire-set LGBT film God’s Own Country by Francis Lee has plunged him into the limelight, Florence Pugh, whose Lady Macbeth role similarly has seen unanimous critical acclaim as well as overwhelming box office success for a British indie film. Also nominated were Timothée Chalamet, who astonished with his performance in the other breakout LGBT hit of 2017, Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name, Daniel Kaluuya of dark comedy Get Out, and Tessa Thompson of Thor fame.

We were lucky enough to speak with previous winner Juno Temple about what winning the award meant for her and her career, diversity in the industry and particularly the impact of recent campaigns to improve conditions for women.

Nominee Josh O’Connor gave his explanation for why God’s Own Country was such a special story that really captured the imaginations of audiences in 2017 and his experience of taking on his role in that film.

The charming Florence Pugh was also there to share her feelings about being nominated and talk about her success with the fresh twist on the period drama, Lady Macbeth.

Film expert and broadcaster Edith Bowman told us about her reflections on the nominees and current film industry, particularly in terms of British film.

BAFTA CEO Amanda Sonia Berry also shared with us the significance of the award and the breadth of talent in the running for the 2018 competition.

Before leaving, Josh O’Connor and Florence Pugh pulled off a fantastic Bond gun barrel sequence, declaring their desire to work together on set.

By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 5th January 2018.
Videos: Filippo L’Astorina

The 2018 EE British Academy Film Awards take place on Sunday 18th February 2018, for further information visit the BAFTA website here.