Romford actor Micheal Ward scoops Bafta Rising Star award
PUBLISHED: 10:17 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:17 03 February 2020
A 22-year-old actor from Romford who starred in Netflix hit Top Boy and the critically acclaimed film Blue Story has been named as this year's British Academy of Film and Television Arts Rising Star.
On Sunday evening (February 2) the EE rising star prize was awarded to Micheal Ward at the 73rd Bafta awards .
Micheal was born in Jamaica but raised in Romford, and the Rising Star award - which saw him up against Farewell star Awkwafina, Booksmart's Kaitlyn Dever, Fighting with my Family actor Jack Lowden and Kelvin Harrison Jnr, who starred in Waves - was decided by a public vote.
This year he shot to prominence playing the role of Marco in British drama Blue Story, which told the tale of two best friends from London who find themselves caught up on opposite sides of a postcode war.
Micheal's role in the highly anticipated Netflix series Top Boy, which was produced by Drake, saw him earn widespread acclaim throughout the UK last year.
Collecting the prize from Daniel Kaluuya, he said: "Wow guys, thank you for that reception, I had something planned but it's all gone to what, oh my days.
"I just want to say thank you first of all to God for making all of this possible.
"Dad, I know you're watching down on me protecting me on this journey, thank you to my mum for believing in me."
He added: "Thank you to Top Boy for changing my life forever, Blue Story, I wouldn't be here without the movie.
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"What I want to say is, people watching at home, looking at me, life didn't have to be this way. You have to see the opposite and see a vision."
And speaking after the ceremony, Micheal said the the film industry is "going in the right direction" when it comes to increasing diversity.
After picking up the gong, he said: "The way I see it, I feel like a lot of people haven't realised there's a lot of opportunities.
"That's what I want to show, especially with something like this, to show there's a lot more opportunities for people like me.
"It's not like before."
He added that he hopes his win will "inspire" others to seek out "opportunities" within the industry.
Ward said that the film Blue Story and TV series Top Boy, both of which he starred in, give an insight into the lives of people who have not traditionally been represented on screen.
"I feel like our stories are so important as well because a lot of people don't know them, so I will continue to do stories like that that just resonate with people.
"I feel like now people are starting to understand a lot more about where people like me come from."
Blue Story's director Rapman (real name Andrew Onwubolu) labelled the lack of black nominees as "ridiculous" after the nominations were announced.
Ward beat Awkwafina, Jack Lowden, Kaitlyn Dever and Kelvin Harrison Jr to the award.