While 2013 brought us films like 'Last Vegas' and 'Escape Plan,' essentially titles that featured a handful of classic stars clinging to the spotlight, the year also saw the next wave of young and upcoming talent take the stage. From those getting their long-awaited big breaks to newcomers making a splash, this next heap should be closely watched come Oscar time and in the years to come.
'Kill Your Darlings,' 'Oldboy'
Elizabeth Olsen, 24, technically broke out in 2011 with her acclaimed performance in the psychological thriller ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene,’ but this year the previously overlooked younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen stepped further into the mainstream spotlight with roles in Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ remake opposite Josh Brolin, and in the Daniel Radcliffe- and Dane DeHaan-led ‘Kill Your Darlings.’
While her sisters became child stars, Elizabeth took a different path, though she did have a few cameos in some of their videos, like 'The Case of Thorn Mansion.' After a childhood filled with musical theater camps, her first film was the horror flick 'Silent House,' and soon after she nabbed her ‘Martha Marcy’ role through an open casting call. From that performance came the filmmakers wanting to share in her talents, including Spike Lee, though he originally eyed Rooney Mara and Mia Wasikowski for the female lead in 'Oldboy.'
What's Next?: Next year, Olsen will debut her first action blockbuster, ‘Godzilla,’ with co-stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. But she’ll soon become a household named among the Marvel fan nation after she starts production as the Scarlet Witch in Joss Whedon's highly anticipated 'The Avengers: Age of Ultron.'
Mary-Kate and Ashley who?
Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan was once known for playing the jock of the Dane DeHaan-led trio in ‘Chronicle.’ Now, thanks to writer-director Ryan Coogler, he’s quickly risen to one of the hottest upcoming talents in Hollywood.
Jordan got his start on shows like ‘The Wire’ and ‘All My Children,’ and when writing the script for ‘Fruitvale Station,’ Coogler had Jordan in mind for the lead in this true-to-life story of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old who was tragically gunned down by BART officers one fateful New Year’s Eve. After much critical acclaim, the actor’s performance is still being talked about as the Oscar race heats up.
What’s Next?: Jordan can be seen next in the upcoming comedy ‘That Awkward Moment’ opposite Zac Efron and Miles Teller, but he’s quickly proving to be one of the most sought-after talents. He’s been unofficially linked to the Human Torch in his ‘Chronicle’ director’s upcoming ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot, as well as roles in ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ and ‘Independence Day 2.’ He’s also currently set to play Apollo Creed’s grandson in the ‘Rocky’ spinoff film, ‘Creed.’
'Short Term 12'
Brie Larson got her start as a kid performing sketches on ‘The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,’ followed by a slew of steady work. However, it was her performances in ‘The United States of Tara’ and the Woody Harrelson vehicle ‘Rampart’ that grabbed the attention of Destin Daniel Cretton. The writer-director sent her the script for his ‘Short Term 12,’ with which she became enamored; after a Skype chat with Cretton, Larson signed on.
While Larson also starred in ’21 Jump Street,' ‘The Spectacular Now' and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut 'Don Jon,' it’s her ‘Short Term 12’ performance that’s given her the most critical acclaim.
What’s Next?: Although she won’t be returning for ’22 Jump Street,’ she’s landed a role in ‘The Gambler’ remake with Mark Wahlberg, and is being eyed to become Sarah Connor in the new set of ‘Terminator’ films.
'The Spectacular Now'
Twenty-six-year-old Miles Teller revealed his dramatic talents in 2010's 'Rabbit,' a story about a mother (Nicole Kidman) and father (Aaron Eckhart) who lose their son in a tragic car accident. While it seemed as if he would leave the genre behind in favor of over-the-top comedy ('Project X,' '21 & Over'), he reminded critics of his talents with James Ponsoldt's 'The Spectacular Now.'
Teller almost didn't land the male lead of Sutter, a high school senior struggling with alcohol, relationships and the road ahead. When original director Lee Toland Krieger was attached to the project, Teller auditioned for the part twice, both times falling flat. It wasn't until Ponsoldt came aboard later on that Teller convinced him over food and drinks that he'd be perfect for the role.
What's Next?: Teller is returning to comedy for 'That Awkward Moment' and 'Two Night Stand,' and he'll reunite with his 'Spectacular Now' co-star Shailene Woodley for 'Divergent.' He's also currently in contention for the role of Mr. Fantastic in Josh Trank's 'Fantastic Four.'
'12 Years a Slave'
With only two acting credits to her name, the short film 'East River' and the TV miniseries 'Shuga,' Lupita Nyong'o made her feature film debut this year in '12 Years a Slave.' Her stirring performance as the favored slave of a sadistic owner (Michael Fassbender) in Steve McQueen's story of historical figure Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has practically guaranteed her an Oscar nomination.
The Mexico-born, Kenya-raised actress was in the midst of graduating Yale's School of Drama when she first got wind of the soon-to-be-breakout part. Nyong'o's manager received the script, originally intended for her client Garret Dillahunt ('Raising Hope'), and thought the young actress would be perfect for the film. After what she describes as a grueling audition and meet-and-greet process, Nyong'o scored the role.
What's Next?: Nyong'o may not have as many upcoming credits to her name as her fellow breakouts, but she'll surely score more high-profile offers. She can be seen next onscreen in 'Non-Stop,' Liam Neeson's next action flick.
'Inside Llewyn Davis'
Oscar Isaac has been blessed with a lengthy film career with roles in the Russell Crowe-led 'Robin Hood,' 'Drive,' 'Sucker Punch' and 'The Bourne Legacy,' but nothing will be as fruitful for audiences as his leading role in the Coen brothers' next project, 'Inside Llewyn Davis.'
According to Joel and Ethan Coen, they almost gave up on looking for the man who possessed the perfect combination of acting and musical skills for Davis, a down-on-his-luck folk singer. "It just didn't happen until [Oscar] walked in the room," said Joel.
What's Next?: With an Oscar nomination a probable lock for Isaac in the coming months, the actor also has a number of projects coming up: crime drama 'In Secret' with Jessica Lange, Elizabeth Olsen and Tom Felton; thriller 'Mojave' with Garrett Hedlund and Walton Goggins; 'The Two Faces of January' with Kirsten Dundst and Viggo Mortensen; and sci-fi film 'Ex Machina' with Domhnall Gleeson.
'White House Down,' 'Oz, The Great and Powerful,' 'The Conjuring'
Much like Isaac, Joey King has more than a few credits under her belt, but 2013 saw her emerge to the forefront in the Channing Tatum-Jamie Foxx actioner 'White House Down,' the Sam Raimi-directed 'Oz, The Great and Powerful' and the hit horror film 'The Conjuring.'
This young star has been acting since the age of 4, when she landed her first commercial for Life cereal, but television audiences saw more of her with her Disney Channel gig, 'The Suit Life of Jack and Cody.' King, now 14, has been involved in both film and TV, but one of her more unexpected roles was a small part in Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight Rises' -- yes, she played the young Talia al Ghul (Marion Cotillard). The prospect of tackling out-of-the-norm characters and stories is appealing to King, which was what prompted her to go after 'The Conjuring.'
What's Next?: 2014 will prove to be just as jam packed for King, who's landed roles in the 'Fargo' TV series, 'Wish I Was Here,' 'The Boxcar Children' and James Franco's next directorial effort, 'The Sound and the Fury.'
Chadwick Boseman was the second actor to come in and audition for the role of Jackie Robinson in '42,' said director Brian Helgeland, who specified he wasn't looking for a particularly well-known actor. But Boseman, mostly known for TV roles at the time ('Lincoln Heights,' 'Persons Unknown,' 'Fringe,' 'Justified,' etc.), impressed Helgeland with his courageous audition, tackling the most difficult scenes in unique ways.
What's Next?: Boseman has two upcoming projects slated for 2014 -- another sports film, 'Draft Day,' and a James Brown biopic, 'Get On Up' -- but could he also be up for the role of Black Panther for a future Marvel phase? The actor has been reportedly eyed for the role, though no official casting announcements have been made.
'Kill Your Darlings,' 'Metallica Through the Never'
Dane DeHaan is one of the hottest upcoming actors, having scored worldwide recognition for his leading role in Josh Trank's found-footage superhero film of 2012, 'Chronicle.' He was one of Trank's first choices for the dark-outcast lead, thanks to the actor's notable turn on HBO's 'In Treatment' and his "looming personality," as Trank described. Since then, he's been featured in 'Lawless,' 'The Place Beyond the Pines,' 'Jack and Diane' and 'Lincoln,' and his future is looking brighter by the minute.
This year, DeHaan starred in the Beat generation flick 'Kill Your Darlings' with Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Huston and Michael C. Hall, as well as 'Metallica Through the Never.'
What's Next?: Some have joked that DeHaan is the new James Franco, which is only appropriate in the sense that he'll take over the role of Spider-Man's best friend, Harry Osborn, in next year's Andrew Garfield-led 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2,' and he'll also reportedly tackle James Dean in the biopic 'Life.'
'About Time,' 'The Wolf of Wall Street'
As Megan Fox fades out, having declared herself unwilling to tackle those sexified roles that first skyrocketed her to fame, another bombshell fades in ... but this time she's kicking things off with more clout. Margot Robbie had a supporting role in 'Love Actually' creator Richard Curtis' final directorial effort, 'About Time,' but she's more known now because of a recent cheating rumor involving Will Smith. Thankfully, her talent will speak for itself when Martin Scorsese's 'The Wolf of Wall Street' hits theaters this December.
Playing Leonardo DiCaprio's wife, Robbie was dumbfounded at landing the role. She's been a regular on the Aussie TV show 'Neighbours' and had a role on 'Pan Am,' which ended after only one season. If the series had continued on, however, the actress would not have been able to grab at the 'Wolf' role when Scorsese came a knockin'.
What's Next?: Aside from reports that Robbie is currently being eyed to fill the Invisible Woman role in 'Fantastic Four' and Sarah Connor in 'Terminator 5,' she's currently filming 'Focus' with Will Smith, and will be seen next in 'Suite Francaise' opposite Michelle Williams.