The British black talent pool is deep! As part of our partnership with the upcoming Screen Nation Awards we will be showcasing a few of the nominees, their career so far, what they have worked on and what they’ve been nominated for.
Popularly known as the “Black BAFTAs” and considered ‘the’ media event showcasing black screen excellence, the Screen Nation Awards celebrates diversity and outstanding achievements on the British screen. The 12th edition will take place on 7 May 2017 at the Park Plaza Hotel in London.
Meet Gugu Mbatha-Raw
For her supporting roles in The Whole Truth, Free State Of Jones and Miss Sloane, stage and film actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw receives her second consecutive nomination for “Female Performance in Film”.
Born to a South African doctor and an English nurse, Gugu grew up in Oxfordshire, South East England, where she participated in the National Youth Theatre, later moving to London in 2001 to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Mbatha began working in British television and stage production, playing minor roles, where she gained recognition for her recurring role as Tish Jones in Doctor Who.
In 2005, Gugu played Juliet opposite fellow actor Andrew Garfield, who portrayed Romeo, at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester; a role that later gave her a nomination for best actress in the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards.
Since then, Gugu has starred opposite other great actors, including Jude Law in Hamlet, and in June 2011, she was cast as the female lead in the Fox series Touch, alongside Kiefer Sutherland.
She gained praise for her role in Belle, directed by Amma Asante, playing the eponymous character. The story depicts a bi-racial character, a trait Gugu could relate to, who was raised to become a ‘proper’ lady in the 18th century.
When asked about what drew her to the role in an interview with AALBC, Gugu embraced the historical opportunity.
“It was refreshing to know that there had been a biracial girl in the aristocracy. I felt that that was a perspective on history that had been so much overlooked, and a story that needed to be told.”
Her talent as an actress has won her many nominations over the years, including at the BAFTAs and the NAACPs.
Her roles showed depth in each character, a trait that Gugu looked forward to playing.
“I’m interested in playing lots of different complex women.” she told News Blaze.
In upcoming thriller The Whole Truth, Gugu plays young lawyer Janelle, who helps an attorney, played by Keanu Reeves, defend the case of a young boy suspected of murdering his father.
Her most recent roles also include playing a literate slave woman in the period war film Free State Of Jones, as well as a lobbyist and victim of childhood gun abuse in Miss Sloane.
She has also appeared in a more uplifting role, playing singing and dancing feather duster Plumette, in the remake of “the tale as old as time”, Beauty and The Beast.
Inspired by her role model Nelson Mandela and what he stood for, Gugu continues to impress the world with her raw talent, gaining more and more recognition for her amazing work.
She takes on roles that are not only unique from each other, but challenging at times, and we are excited to see what her next challenge will be.