Bafta announces 2023 Rising Star nominees, with two Sex Education favourites making the list

Bafta has announced the five nominees for this year’s Rising Star Award, with two stars of Netflix’s teen comedy Sex Education making the cut.

The nominees for the award, now in its 18th year, were announced during a press conference at The Savoy Hotel in London today (17 January), ahead of the 2023 Baftas ceremony, which takes place on Sunday 19 February.

Aimee Lou Wood and Emma Mackey, who play friends Aimee and Maeve in Sex Education, were among the nominees. The list was rounded out by Naomie Ackie (Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody), The Woman King’s Sheila Atim and Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’s Daryl McCormack.

Nominees were selected by a panel of industry jurors including actors Hayley Atwell, Joe Cole and Jason Flemyng, as well as a host of celebrated casting directors, producers and industry experts.

Reacting to the news, Mackey, who was interviewed by The Independent for our Rising Stars interview series in 2020, said: “Being able to tell stories and make films is already such a blessing. To be nominated alongside these wonderful actors and for us all to be noticed by such a respected and inspiring institution is very humbling indeed.”

Wood said she was “totally thrilled”, adding: “I love how this special award draws attention to emerging talent and I’m always so excited to see who the nominees are when they’re announced. To be included this year is very surprising and a real pinch-me moment. I feel extremely grateful and moved to be here amongst such wonderful people!”

Ackie, who can currently be seen in the Whitney Houston biopic, said that being nominated was a “beautiful experience”, while Bad Sisters star McCormack added: “For as long as I can remember, I have followed those recognised by the Bafta EE Rising Star category as a source of inspiration. To hear that I stand in the company of the past and present nominees is an incredible honour. Thank you, sincerely, to the jury.”

And Atim, who was interviewed by The Independent last year about her role in The Woman King, said: “This public-voted award is truly an award of the people and a joyous celebration between artist and audience. Thank you to Bafta for listing me alongside this year’s wonderful group, adding to the esteemed rostrum of nominees past.”

Voting is now open at here and the winner will be announced at the awards on 19 February 2023. The ceremony will air from 7pm on BBC One and iPlayer, and takes place at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London.