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The BAFTA nominations in all other film categories will be announced on Wednesday, but the British Academy got the ball rolling this morning will the five nominees for their Rising Star Award -- now in its ninth year, and the only BAFTA category in which the winner is determined by a public vote. The nominees, meanwhile, are chosen by a jury of journalists and industry professionals, which this year included Gemma Arterton (a nominee herself for the award a few years ago), producer Pete Czernin ("The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel") and chairwoman Pippa Harris, deputy head of BAFTA's film committee. And the five names they've chosen are...
It's a talent-laden roster, certainly, though also one that brings up the annual discussion of what constitutes a "rising star." BAFTA has always stressed that the award isn't about rewarding specific debut or breakthrough performances, but rather identifying names that, true to the award's name, have long-term star potential.
That means nominees can range from genuine newcomers -- with Nyong'o, of course, we have only one film performance to go on -- to more established names whose stars, in some cases, may appear to have already risen. (Tom Hardy's nomination, and subsequent win, in 2011 seemed a little late to the party.)
Many will wonder why Seydoux makes the cut over her more acclaimed "Blue is the Warmest Color" co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos, given that both actresses seem to have pretty bright futures. That Seydoux has a longer career, with more notable film credits, behind her clearly made the difference -- though you might counter that if Nyong'o could get nominated on the basis of a single breakout performance, so could Exarchopoulos. So it goes; the system will never be ideal.
DeHaan's 2013 double-shot of "The Place Beyond the Pines" and "Kill Your Darlings" makes him a worthy and well-timed nominee. The first of two British nominees, George Mackay is coming off a busy year that saw him appear in four UK films, most prominently alongside Saoirse Ronan in "How I Live Now" and most appealingly in the Proclaimers musical "Sunshine on Leith." (He received a London Critics' Circle nomination last month for his body of work.)
The youngest nominee, 20-year-old Will Poulter, has been on the radar since 2007's "Son of Rambow," while multiplex audiences know him for "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and his game comic mugging in last year's "We're the Millers." That mainstream presence will, I'm guessing, secure him the public vote quite easily. (The Brits tend to side with their own in this category: the last non-native to win was Kristen Stewart, who rode the Twi-hard vote to victory in 2010.)
Other previous winners include James McAvoy, Eva Green, Shia LaBeouf, Noel Clarke, Adam Deacon and Juno Temple. This year's champ will be announced at the BAFTA Awards on February 16. UK residents (and only UK residents, I'm afraid) can vote here.
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