Film and television have always relied on the thrill of new talent, and BAFTA has long recognised its role in spotlighting rising stars. From the very beginning of its life, the Academy knew the support it could give new talent through its awards would be vital, launching a prize for Most Promising Newcomer in 1953.
The first winner was actress Claire Bloom, then the 22 year old star of Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight. In her wake, the award would recognise a catalogue of great screen performers from Britain and beyond. Their ranks include Maggie Smith (nominated in 1959 for her debut Nowhere To Go), Judi Dench (a winner in 1966 with Four In The Morning), Jon Voight (winner for Midnight Cowboy in 1970) and Jodie Foster (winner for both Taxi Driver and Bugsy Malone in 1977).
Image: Eleven years after receiving the award for Most Promising Newcomer, Maggie Smith is seen here accepting the Best Actress Award in 1970 for her performance in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969).