Zhao, who was born in China, is the first woman of colour to win the prize.
The first female winner was Kathryn Bigelow, who took the gong in 2010 for The Hurt Locker.
Frances McDormand won best actress for Nomadland - which also won best film.
Kaluuya won supporting actor for Judas And The Black Messiah, with Minari actress Yuh-Jung Youn taking home supporting actress.
This year, two-thirds of the acting nominations were for non-white performers - 16 out of 24. Before this year, the highest proportion of non-white nominees across all the acting categories was one fifth, in both 2014 and 2017.
It represents a major turnaround from last year, when all 20 acting nominees were white.
Bakray, 18, said she hoped people see the “beauty in life” as she was named winner of the EE Rising Star award.
The award is the only one to be voted for by the public, and previous winners include James McAvoy, Noel Clarke, Kristen Stewart and Tom Hardy.
Bakray was one of five nominees alongside Kingsley Ben-Adir, Morfydd Clark, Sope Dirisu and Conrad Khan.
She grew up in east London and got her big break starring in 2019 coming-of-age drama Rocks, where she plays a teenage girl struggling to take care of herself and her younger brother after they are abandoned by their mother.
Speaking after her win, Bakray said: “I hope that viewers see the beauty in the mundane experience and they see the beauty in life and human beings as people.
“I think when you look at Rocks’ narrative, it’s not flashy, it’s not crazy, there’s no guns, there are no stunts, there is no this and that.
Kaluuya said after his win: “Appreciate you man, thank you, thank you God thank you BAFTAs thank you to all my friend sand family thank you to my mum.
His win comes just two weeks ahead of the Academy Awards - where he is also hotly tipped to win the award.
He told media: “I’m chill man, I take every day as it comes man. I’m just chill. I’m enjoying this I’ve got a vibe out I’m enjoying this I ain’t thinking about in two weeks time.
“It’s a vibe when you go to BAFTAs you just have fun, you would have just had, you know how it is, a bit more of an experience, but I’m grateful man I’m here.”
Minari actress Yuh-Jung Youn said she was honoured to be recognised by the “snobbish” Brits as she won the supporting actress prize.
In one of the more humorous moments of the ceremony, the Korean actress - who defeated homegrown talent including Kosar Ali and Ashley Madekwe to win the prize said: “I am very honoured to be nominated and I’m the winner now.
“My deep condolences for your Duke of Edinburgh and thank you so much for this award.
“Every award is meaningful but especially this one. British people are known as very snobbish people and they approve of me as a good actor, so I’m very privileged and happy.”
Director Thomas Vinterberg paid tribute to his late daughter as his film Another Round was honoured.It picked up the gong for foreign language film.
Revenge drama Promising Young Woman was named outstanding British film.
The film, which is the directorial debut of The Crown actress Emerald Fennell, stars Carey Mulligan as a woman left traumatised by tragedy.
Fennell joked that everyone made the film for “a packet of crisps” and said the experience was “the greatest thing in my life.”
Ang Lee received a Bafta Fellowship, the organisation’s highest honour, to celebrate his glittering career including movies Brokeback Mountain, Life Of Pi and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
The second ceremony for this year’s Bafta film awards was hosted from the Royal Albert Hall.
A handful of presenters - including Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, Felicity Jones,Sophie Cookson and Richard E Grant - were in attendance this year, with winners and nominees accepting their awards virtually.
Phoebe Dynevor, David Oyelowo and Cynthia Erivo were among the stars on the socially distanced red carpet.
The ceremony was hosted by Edith Bowman and Dermot O’Leary. Last night, Clara Amfo hosted the ceremony for the behind-the-camera categories, including casting and make-up, winners announced.
The Duke of Cambridge, who is the current president of Bafta, was to feature virtually in this year’s awards, but pulled out following the death of his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, on Friday.
Throughout the night tributes were paid to the Duke of Edinburgh.
Bowman and O’Leary paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh following his death aged 99, with Bowman saying Philip “occupies a special place in Bafta history and our thoughts are with the royal family”.
Richard E Grant paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh as, “eagle-eyed, very interested and very direct”.
Asked whether he thought the duke would have been pleased the Baftas were going ahead despite the challenges of the pandemic, the actor said: “Never give up, that seemed to be his motto, so same for us.”