Rocks actress Bukky Bakray has won the EE Rising Star Award at the 2021 BAFTAs.
The 19-year-old from East London took home the prestigious accolade after appearing in the BAFTA-nominated film Rocks, directed by Sarah Gavron, and triumphed over fellow nominees Conrad Khan, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Morfydd Clark, and Sope Dirisu.
Gavron discovered Bakray at school, aged 15, and cast the youngster in her first-ever acting role.
Her win was announced by James McAvoy, winner of the first-ever BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2006, the only publicly voted award, who appeared on stage at London’s Royal Albert Hall in front of the virtual audience.
The teenager looked stunned at her win as she accepted a kiss from her mother on her live Zoom link, amid loud cheering from friends and family at home.
“Thank you so much BAFTA and EE, I appreciate this so much,” she said. “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 new and emerging talent.”
As well as her EE Rising Star Award, Bakray has received nominations from the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) and London Critics’ Circle, and was also shortlisted in the Leading Actress category at the BAFTAs, losing out to Frances McDormand for Nomadland.
She is currently enrolled in Theatre Peckham’s Originate Acting Course, where young performers receive specialist training from top-tier drama institutions, such as Guildhall School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
– Cover Media