Hackney schoolgirl and actress Bukky Bakray wins Bafta

File photo dated 11/10/19 of Bukky Bakray who has won the EE Rising Star award at the EE BAFTA Film

Bukky Bakray who has won the EE Rising Star award at the EE BAFTA Film Awards. - Credit: PA Wire

A Hackney schoolgirl turned actress, Bukky Bakray, was crowned a rising star in the Bafta film awards. 

The EE Rising Star award is the only one decided by public vote and previous winners include Kristen Stewart, Daniel Kaluuya, James McAvoy, Noel Clarke and Tom Hardy. 

The actress said after her win: “When we filmed Rocks I thought 100 people would watch the film, maximum. I didn’t think it would have this reach.”

Bukky was discovered at Cardinal Pole school classroom in Homerton by director Sarah Gavron, who was searching for an east London teenager to star in her 2019 coming-of-age drama Rocks.

The actress, who is still in year 13, plays a teenage girl struggling to take care of herself and her younger brother after they are abandoned by their mother. 

Bukky was also nominated for best actress but lost out to actress Frances McDormand for Nomadland, directed by Chloe Zhao - the second woman and first Chinese filmmaker to win best director.  

If Bukky had won she would have made Bafta history as the first non-white winner of the best actress award.  

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She said she hopes that "viewers see the beauty in the mundane experience".

Bukky Bakray after winning the EE Rising Star award.

Bukky Bakray after winning the EE Rising Star award at the EE BAFTA Film Awards. - Credit: PA

Adding: “I think when you look at Rocks’ narrative, it’s not flashy, it’s not crazy, there’s no guns, there are no stunts, there is no this and that.

“Even though I love films that have that, this film is really minimalistic. It really focuses on life and human nature and humanity.

“They can see the beauty in Rocks through our gaze, they can see the beauty in their own lives and know you don’t have to be on Wikipedia to be significant.”

Bukky was one of five nominees alongside Kingsley Ben-Adir, Morfydd Clark, Sope Dirisu and Conrad Khan.

She received the award remotely and looked amazed when her name was read out, surrounded by the cheers of her family and friends. 

The actress thanked god, her parents, her Rocks family and others as well as paying tribute to people she personally knew who had passed away, recently deceased rapper DMX and "everyone else who has died last year and this year, who went to bed infinitely."