Daniel Kaluuya on coping with overnight fame – and the problem with awards season

Kaluuya won the Film Baftas' Rising Star award and gave the most disarming speech of the night - we caught up with him backstage...

Daniel Kaluuya, Baftas 2018 (Getty, EH)

Daniel Kaluuya was the indisputable sweetheart of the 2018 British Academy Film Awards. The Get Out and Black Panther star – who was also nominated in the Leading Actor category – won the Rising Star accolade, pipping competitors like Timothée Chalamet and Tessa Thompson to the post.

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Kaluuya’s winning speech was one of the highlights of the evening, during which he paid a special tribute to his mother. “Mum, you are the reason why I started,” he said.

“You are the reason why I’m here and you’re the reason why I keep going. Do you understand? Thank you for everything, and I would like to thank this award… and this is yours.

“Yours. Love. Peace, let’s get it.”

When he got backstage to the Winners’ Press Conference, Kaluuya couldn’t contain his excitement. “Am I allowed to swear now? F***ing hell man, it’s mental!”

It’s fair to say that Kaluuya’s star has well and truly risen. The 28-year-old went from being “that guy from Skins” to Hollywood star pretty much overnight when satirical horror movie Get Out was released to critical acclaim last year. How has he coped with the transformation? Speaking backstage, Kaluuya revealed that Uber has become very useful since his surge to super-fame.

“Yo, I get that Prius everywhere,” he said. “I’m not even Uber Luxe, I’m Uber X. It’s easier to get from A to B.

“I’m a Londoner, I’m grown up, I don’t want to be at the flipping bus stop.”

He added: “I can’t get a car because I’d get towed all the time, that would be annoying.”

In terms of how he dealt with the huge reaction to Get Out, he said: “Someone gave me some really shrewd advice, they said, ‘Just be yourself.’

“If you be yourself they leave you alone because they go, ‘You’re not a star, you’re my cousin.’ There’s no parallel universe. I still roll around, I still go [Notting Hill] Carnival and festivals.”

Kaluuya did confess, however, that there’s one big problem with partying at awards ceremonies.

“The thing about awards season,” he said, “is that you can’t really get drunk – because there are always people taking pictures of you.”

Arts funding in the UK got a big mention in Kaluuya’s winning speech, and he referred to it again backstage. Asked whether he believes people are being excluded from the industry, he said: “No, I just don’t think stuff that’s being set up considers us. I don’t think it’s being exclusive. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.

“So we have to work extra hard. Sometimes we’re having to take care of our family, it’s financial.

“Arts funding helps. It helps. There are loads of organisations I mentioned that do that.”

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Watch Kaluuya’s winning speech in full, below.