Saturday, 26 September 2015


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Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Gugu Mbatha-Raw 2013 TIFF.jpg
BornGugulethu Sophia Mbatha
June 30, 1983 (age 32)
OxfordOxfordshire, England
EducationRoyal Academy of Dramatic Arts
Years active2004–present
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (pronounced /ˈɡɡ əmˈbɑːtə rɔː/;[1] born Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha; 30 June,[2] 1983)[3][4] is an English stage and film actress.
Working in British television and stage productions, she first gained prominence in a recurring role in Doctor Who, playing companionMartha Jones's sister. She garnered attention in American productions, beginning with a supporting role in the Tom Hanks comedyLarry Crowne, and starring roles in the short-lived television series Undercovers and Touch. She earned critical acclaim for her performances in the period drama Belle and the romantic drama Beyond the Lights, receiving numerous accolade nominations from critics worldwide.

Early life

Mbatha-Raw was born in Oxford, England in 1983 and grew up in the small town of Witney in Oxfordshire. Her surnames are those of her father and mother, and her forename is the shortened version of "Gugulethu", a contraction of igugu lethu that means ‘Our Pride’ in Zulu.[5][6]
Her mother, Anne Raw, is an English nurse, and her father, Patrick Mbatha, is a doctor originally from South Africa.[7] Mbatha-Raw attended The Henry Box School and was involved with the National Youth Theatre, having been interested in acting, dance, and musical theatre from a young age.[8] She moved to London to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2001.


Early career

Mbatha-Raw played minor roles on television series such as Bad Girls (2006), Doctor Who (2007) and Marple (2007). One of her earliest breakthroughs in drama was in Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Exchange TheatreManchester in 2005 playing Juliet opposite Andrew Garfield as Romeo.[9] Mbatha-Raw was nominated for best actress in theManchester Evening News Theatre Awards for her portrayal of Juliet and also played Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at the same theatre in 2005.[10]
In 2009 Mbatha-Raw was cast as Ophelia in Hamlet opposite Jude Law in the titular role.[11]
In September 2010, she was cast in the J. J. Abrams TV series Undercovers, after he spotted her in Hamlet. The show was cancelled two months later.[12][13]
In June 2011, Mbatha-Raw was cast as the female lead in the Fox pilot Touch opposite Kiefer Sutherland.[14] She had a supporting role in 2011 romantic comedy film Larry Crowne, written and directed by Tom Hanks, who starred in the title role.[15]


She starred in Amma Asante's 2013 film Belle, playing the eponymous historical character, Dido Elizabeth Belle, a mixed-race aristocrat in 18th century Britain.[16][17]
The film debuted at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival where it was acquired by Fox Searchlight. It was eventually given a release in 2014. Mbatha-Raw was nominated for numerous awards for her work on the film including two British Independent Film Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film which she won andMost Promising Newcomer. She was also nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actress.
In 2014, Mbatha-Raw also starred in Beyond the Lights. The film debuted at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. For her work in Beyond the Lights Mbatha-Raw was nominated for Best Actress at the 2014 Gotham Awards.[18]
In recognition of her body of work, she was nominated for a BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2015. That year, she had a supporting role in the film Jupiter Ascending.[19]
On July 3rd, 2015 it was announced that Mbatha-Raw would originate the title role in Jessica Swale's Nell Gwynn playing Nell Gwyn the mistress of King Charles II of Englandpremiering at Shakespeare's Globe from 19 September to 17 October 2015.[20]

Future projects

Mbatha-Raw will take on a role in Courtney Hunt's first film since her award winning Frozen RiverThe Whole Truth. She is set to star in the upcoming biopic Concussion as Prema Mutiso, starring Will Smith, the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist who first discovered extensive brain damage in NFL players and tried to put a stop to it.[21]
In early 2015, she announced she would be starring opposite Mathew McConaughey in a biopic on Newton KnightThe Free State of Jones directed by Gary Ross playing Knight's common-law wife, Rachel.[22] That year she was also cast in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast as Plumette.[23]



2004Holby CityCollette Hill
2006Vital SignsEve
2006Walk Away and I Stumblenurse
2006Bad GirlsFidelity
2007Doctor WhoTish Jones4 episodes
2007Doctor Who ConfidentialHerselfInterviewee
2007MarpleTina ArgyleIn Ordeal by Innocence
2008Lost in AustenPiranha
2008BonekickersViv Davis
2008Trial & RetributionJenny Miller
2009FalloutShanice RobertsPart of Channel 4's Disarming Britain series
2010UndercoversSamantha Bloom
2012TouchClea Hopkins[24]
2014Beyond the Light


2011Larry CrowneTalia
2012Odd ThomasViola
2013BelleDido Elizabeth Belle
2014Beyond the LightsNoni Jean
2015Jupiter AscendingFamulus
2015The Whole TruthJanelle
2015ConcussionPrema MutisoIn post-production
2016The Free State of JonesRachelFilming
2017Beauty and the BeastPlumetteFilming

Other works


1999Into The WoodsNational Youth Music TheatreCinderella's Mother (u/s Rapunzel)
2005Antony and CleopatraRoyal Exchange in ManchesterCleopatra
2005Romeo and JulietRoyal Exchange in ManchesterJuliet Capulet
2008GethsemaneNational TheatreMonique
2009–10HamletDonmar West End and BroadwayOpheliaOpposite Jude Law
2015Nell GwynnShakespeare's GlobeNell Gwynn


2006Living with the EnemySophie/VariousBBC Radio 4, broadcast 14 November – 19 December 2006
2009Choice of StrawsMichelleBBC Radio 4Saturday Play, broadcast on 19 September 2009

Awards and Nominations

2011NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Actress in DramaUndercoversNominated
2012Black Reel AwardsBest Breakthrough PerformanceLarry CrowneNominated
2014African-American Film Critics Association AwardsBest ActressBelleWon[25]
Alliance of Women Film JournalistsBest Breakthrough PerformanceBelleWon[26]
British Independent Film AwardsBest ActressBelleWon[27]
Capri, HollywoodCapri Rising Star AwardBeyond the LightsWon[28]
Chicago Film Critics Association AwardsMost Promising PerformerBelleNominated
Chicago International Film FestivalEmerging Artist AwardBeyond the LightsWon[29]
Detroit Film Critics SocietyBreakthrough ArtistBeyond the LightsNominated
Florida Film Critics Circle AwardsPauline Kael Breakout AwardBelleNominated
Gotham Independent Film AwardsBest ActressBeyond the LightsNominated
Satellite AwardsBest ActressBelleNominated
2015British Academy Film AwardsEE Rising Star AwardNominated
Black Reel AwardsOutstanding ActressBelle
Beyond the Lights
Georgia Film Critics AssociationBreakthrough AwardBelle
Beyond the Lights
Image AwardOutstanding ActressBelleNominated
London Film Critics Circle AwardsBritish Actress of the YearBelleNominated