The Screen Nation Awards are back for another year to celebrate the cream of the crop of black British and global talent. We'll be profiling the nominees – next up, we have the brilliant leading ladies up for the Female Performance in Film award.
Antonia Thomas – First Born
Antonia Thomas is an actress who first found fame in E4 hit series Misfits. She also went on to star in Northern Soul and Sunshine on Leith before landing a role in Channel 4's Scrotal Recall. The rights of the comedy were eventually bought by Netflix and renamed Lovesick.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw – The Whole Truth, Free State of Jones, Miss Sloane
Gugu Mbatha-Raw first gained prominence in a recurring role on Doctor Who, playing Tish Jones. She then garnered attention in American productions, beginning with a supporting role in the Tom Hanks comedy Larry Crowne and starring roles on the short-lived television series Undercovers and Touch. She earned critical acclaim for her performances in the British period drama Belle and the romantic drama Beyond the Lights, receiving numerous accolade nominations from critics worldwide.
In 2015, Mbatha-Raw premiered the title role in Jessica Swale's play Nell Gwynn, an actress and mistress of King Charles II of England. She was nominated for an Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance. Her performance as Kelly in the critically acclaimed San Junipero, an episode in season three of the cult anthology series Black Mirror, was highly praised.
Ruth Negga – Loving
Ruth Negga has appeared in the films Capital Letters (2004) (also released as Trafficked in some countries), Isolation (2005), Breakfast on Pluto (2005) and Warcraft (2016). She has also played roles in television, such as in the BBC's mini-series Criminal Justice, RTÉ's Love/Hate, E4's Misfits, and ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. In 2016, she began a starring role as Tulip O'Hare in AMC's Preacher.
For her portrayal of Mildred Loving in Loving (2016), Negga was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead and Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress, as well as the BAFTA Rising Star Award.
Sennia Nanua – The Girl with all the Gifts
At the age of 12, Nottingham-born newcomer Sennia Nanua landed the critical role of Melanie in Colm McCarthy’s The Girl With All The Gifts, starring opposite Glenn Close, Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine. The adaptation of MR Carey’s bestseller premiered at Locarno Film Festival with Nanua receiving plaudits for a truly captivating performance as a girl who may just hold the key to the survival of the human race after the outbreak of a fungal disease.
Vinette Robinson – Sherlock, Hope Springs, Black Mirror
Vinette Robinson made her television debut in The Cops at the age of 17. Following this she spent three years at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, where she was awarded a Laurence Olivier bursary from the Society of London Theatre. She had a small role as the Jamaican girl in the 2004 film Vera Drake but was given an entire character backstory by the director Mike Leigh.
In 2009, she played Josie Porritt in the BBC television series Hope Springs and appeared as newly qualified English teacher Helen Hopewell in eight episodes of Waterloo Road's fifth series. She then went on to star as police sergeant Sally Donovan in the BBC series Sherlock, continuing her role into the second and third series. In 2016, she appeared in Hated in the Nation, an episode of the anthology series Black Mirror.
Taking place on Sunday 7th May and set to be streamed on Facebook Live, the 12th annual Screen Nation Awards ceremony will be held in the impressive Ballroom of the newly multi-million pound refurbished Park Plaza Riverbank, overlooking the Thames at the Albert Embankment. To see the full list of nominees, click here, and to buy tickets to attend the event, follow this link.