The winner of the EE rising star award at the Baftas has said that diversity in the film industry is “going in the right direction”.
Micheal Ward won the award amid criticism of the ceremony for its lack of diversity.
After picking up the gong, he said: “The way I see it, I feel like a lot of people haven’t realised there’s a lot of opportunities.
“That’s what I want to show, especially with something like this, to show there’s a lot more opportunities for people like me.
“It’s not like before.”
He added that he hopes his win will “inspire” others to seek out “opportunities” within the industry.
Ward said that the film Blue Story and TV series Top Boy, both of which he starred in, give an insight into the lives of people who have not traditionally been represented on screen.
“I feel like our stories are so important as well because a lot of people don’t know them, so I will continue to do stories like that that just resonate with people.
“I feel like now people are starting to understand a lot more about where people like me come from.”
After accepting the award on stage, he added: “Thank you to Top Boy for changing my life forever, Blue Story, I wouldn’t be here without the movie.
“What I want to say is, people watching at home, looking at me, life didn’t have to be this way. You have to see the opposite and see a vision.”
Blue Story’s director Rapman (real name Andrew Onwubolu) labelled the lack of black nominees as “ridiculous” after the nominations were announced.
Ward beat Awkwafina, Jack Lowden, Kaitlyn Dever and Kelvin Harrison Jr to the award.