The nominees were announced by 2014 Rising Star nominee George MacKay (“1917”) and presenter Edith Bowman on Wednesday. The nominees participated in a panel discussion and spoke about their roles. Ben-Adir was there in person with the presenters, and the others virtually, with Clark dialling in from New Zealand where she’s filming Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings.”
Ben-Adir plays Black leader Malcolm X in “One Night in Miami,” based on the play by Kemp Powers, directed by Regina King. Bakray is the lead as a schoolgirl in Sarah Gavron’s coming-of-age drama “Rocks.” Clark plays a pious nurse in Rose Glass’ horror “Saint Maud,” while Dirisu is an emigrant house hunter who finds evil where he least expects it in Remi Weekes’ “His House.” In Henry Blake’s “County Lines,” Khan plays a 14-year-old who is groomed into a criminal network.
The jury was chaired by BAFTA chair and award-winning television producer, Krishnendu Majumdar, producer and director Anand Tucker, actors Naomi Ackie, Jo Hartley and Alicia Vikander, casting directors Leo Davis, Nina Gold and Lucy Bevan, creative director Gaylene Gould and other leading industry specialists and entertainment journalists.
Emma Baehr, executive director of awards and content at BAFTA, said: “Recognizing and supporting creatives is at the heart of everything we do at BAFTA and it is particularly exciting to see talent shortlisted today who have been previously supported by our BAFTA Breakthrough program, part of our year-round work to showcase emerging and under-represented talent.”
The award, sponsored by mobile services provider EE, is now in its 16th year and is the only BAFTA to be voted for by members of the public.
The BAFTA awards will be presented April 11.