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19 Feb 2018

Daniel Kaluuya made an important point in his BAFTAs acceptance speech

Daniel Kaluuya may not have won leading actor for his role in Get Out but he was the people’s champion at the 2018 BAFTAs.

The British actor, who hails from Camden in North London, was voted EE Rising Star by the British public and in his speech he made a very important point about opportunity.

“I’ve gone blank! Thank you. Tessa [Thompson], Tim [Chalamet], Josh [O’Connor], and Florence [Pugh] … I feel so privileged to be in your guys’ company. Facts,” his speech began.

“I am a product of arts funding within the United Kingdom, and I’d like to thank people who financially support that.”

Kaluuya is not like the Tom Hiddlestons, Carey Mulligans or Eddie Redmaynes of the acting world who were afforded opportunities because of their economically privileged background.

He is one of the minority of performers who relied on state education and arts funding in order to carry out his theatrical dreams. In 2016, the London School of Economics and Goldsmiths College conducted a peer-reviewed study that found acting is “heavily skewed towards the privileged” and just 27% of actors come from a working-class background.

Dame Julie Walters and Maxine Peake have spoken of the struggle for working class actors to make it in the acting world.

“People like me wouldn’t have been able to go to college today,” Walters said. “I could because I got a full grant. I don’t know how you get into it now. Kids write to me all the time and I think, I don’t know what to tell you.”

Peake said she wouldn’t have been able to go to drama school without a scholarship.  “There’s no way,” she told the Guardian. “I’m from a single-parent family, My mum works part-time. We’re skint.”

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