The nominees for BAFTA’s Orange Rising Star Award are chosen by an industry jury, but a public vote (via the Internet and text messaging) picks the winner. In its three-year history, that has meant the prize has always gone to the nominee who starred in the highest-grossing multiplex movie.
Last year that was Shia LaBeouf (“Transformers”), the year before it was Eva Green (“Casino Royale”), and first time out it was James McAvoy (“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”).
For all the assurance that formula seems to provide, this year’s race remains open. Michael Cera probably starts as favorite, thanks to “Juno” and “Superbad,” which played well in Blighty, and “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist,” perfectly timed to come out a week before the BAFTA ceremony.
But Cera doesn’t yet have such a high profile in the U.K. as he does Stateside, which leaves the door ajar for Noel Clarke, probably his strongest rival. American readers may not know the name, but Clarke is a serious contender because of his stint in the TV show “Doctor Who,” and his starring role in the urban youth drama “Adulthood,” which he also wrote and directed. “Adulthood” was a significant hit with the teen fanbase that’s most likely to pick up their cell phones or go online and vote.
Michael Fassbender, the charismatic German-born but Irish-raised actor, has been nominated largely because of the art movie “Hunger,” but also had some exposure to mainstream auds through “300” and the well-reviewed Brit horror pic “Eden Lake.”
Rebecca Hall, from “Frost/Nixon” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” and Toby Kebbell, from “RocknRolla” and “Control,” are both wonderfully versatile actors with glittering careers ahead of them. But faced with more popular competition, they could be outsiders for this particular award.