Daniel Kaluuya's Oscar and Skins, the show where it all started

By Sinead Garvan
Newsbeat reporter

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As Daniel Kaluuya clutched his Oscar in his hand and then excitedly thanked his mum and dad for having sex, it was impossible not to feel delighted for him.

The 32-year old Londoner had been most people's favourite for the best supporting actor nod - after picking up a load of other awards for his performance as Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah.

The win cements his place in Hollywood - after his previous best actor nomination for Get Out.

But long-time fans will know his success can be traced back to the TV show Skins - and his role as Posh Kenneth.

He was also a contributing writer on the first two series and the head writer of two episodes in that time.

And he's certainly not the only actor from the show who's gone on to great things.

image copyrightChannel 4/ Skins

Dev Patel's first job after playing Anwar Kharral in series one and two, took him from London to India and to the Oscars with Slumdog Millionaire.

When Skins turned 10 in 2017, Dev made it a joint celebration when he was nominated for the best supporting actor Oscar for Lion - a film about a young Indian man searching for his long-lost family.

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image captionDev starred in Lion alongside Sunny Pawar, who played the younger version of his character

"My career started off because Danny Boyle's daughter was a fan of the show [Skins], that is how I got an audition for Slumdog," he said.

He has also starred in films such as David Copperfield, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Chappie.

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image captionKaya Scodelario with The Truth About Emanuel co-stars Rooney Mara and Jessica Biel

Kaya Scodelario was one of the longest-serving members of Skins, appearing in series one to four as Effy Stonem.

She went on to appear in sci-fi thriller Maze Runner and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales alongside Johnny Depp.

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image captionNicholas (left) with cast mates James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence and director Bryan Singer

Nicholas Hoult was the only member of the main cast who had serious acting experience before the show.

He'd starred in About a Boy with Hugh Grant in 2002.

Nicholas has since gone on to play Beast in four X-Men prequels as well as roles in Mad Max: Fury Road and The Favourite.

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Jack O'Connell, who played Cook in series three and four, was hand-picked by Angelina Jolie to star in her 2014 movie Unbroken.

The 27-year-old also picked up the Rising Star award at the 2015 Baftas and starred alongside Sienna Miller in the West End play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

And fans of Game of Thrones will be familiar with Joe Dempsie and Hannah Murray who played Gendry and Gilly respectively.

media captionIt’s A Sin: Olly Alexander says young gay people have messaged him saying they can’t believe it happened

It's been a huge year for Olly Alexander, who played photographer Jakob in the final series of the show.

He played the main character in Channel 4's It's a Sin - about the 1980s Aids crisis. The show has been a massive critical hit.

Olly is also still fronting Years and Years - which is now a solo project, after the band announced they were splitting in March 2021.

Spotting talent

It is, of course, not unusual for an actor from a British television show to find success in Hollywood films.

What is unusual is the amount of stars that were discovered from one single teen drama on a digital channel, E4.

So how were the makers of Skins able to spot so many talented young actors?

Co-creator Bryan Elsley told Newsbeat they made a conscious decision to hold open auditions.

"There are really good kids working from agencies and drama schools but just on that one occasion we decided to go a different way," he explained in 2015.

"We felt if we had young people playing characters the same age as themselves, and those actors weren't too trained, it would have a more natural feel."

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image captionJack O'Connell with Angelina Jolie and Takamasa Ishihara from the press tour of Unbroken

It sounds quite risky, but Bryan said the show was such a small project to begin with, they were able to take that approach.

Jack O'Connell credits the whole team for the actors' future success.

"I think they knew if they were going to identify that genre, that era, that generation, they needed people on the ground level," he said.

"A writing team that understood, they got that right first and then I guess they chose to cast exciting people.

"I feel very fortunate to be involved in the show but I don't think it was a coincidence that we all came through there."

A version of this article was last published in February 2018.

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