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Top 11 in '11: Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and the Biggest Breakout Stars of 2011

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Top 11 in '11: Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and the Biggest Breakout Stars of 2011 Empty Top 11 in '11: Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and the Biggest Breakout Stars of 2011

Post by Admin on Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:59 pm

Top 11 in '11: Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and the Biggest Breakout Stars of 2011
By Christopher Rosen (Subscribe to Christopher Rosen's posts)
Posted Nov 28th 2011 11:30AM

Photo: Getty
11. Jennifer Lawrence

2011 key roles: 'The Beaver,' 'X-Men: First Class,' 'Like Crazy'

Jennifer Lawrence started 2011 with an Oscar nomination for her performance in 'Winter's Bone,' but it was her casting in 'The Hunger Games' as Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire, that vaulted her to national prominence. (That and the striking red dress she wore to the Oscars.) Like Michael Fassbender, her biggest onscreen hit in 2011 was 'X-Men: First Class,' where she played a naked and maturing Mystique, but she also appeared in the art-house smash 'Like Crazy.'

Upcoming projects: 'The Hunger Games' and its sequels, 'Catching Fire' and 'Mockingjay'; the horror film 'House at the End of the Street'; the David O. Russell-directed drama 'The Silver Linings Playbook' with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.
Photo: AP
10. Ryan Gosling

2011 key roles: 'Crazy Stupid Love,' 'Drive,' 'The Ides of March'

It's hard to call Ryan Gosling a "breakout star" because of his work in 2011 -- after all, the guy has already earned an Oscar nomination and starred in one of the last decade's biggest romances, 'The Notebook' -- but he was everywhere this year, up to and including breaking up a street fight. Gosling always had the indie cred associated with serious young actors, but he added some mainstream flair in 2011: shirtless and charming in 'Crazy Stupid Love,' smoldering and violent in 'Drive,' and George Clooney's chosen heir in 'The Ides of March.' With a host of upcoming projects -- including the highly anticipated 'Gangster Squad' with Sean Penn -- Gosling is your best choice to become the next Brad Pitt.

Upcoming projects: 'The Place Beyond the Pines,' 'Gangster Squad,' 'Only God Forgives,' 'Logan's Run' and an untitled Terrence Malick project.
Photo: Getty
9. Shailene Woodley

2011 key role: 'The Descendants'

Best known for her television work -- most notably 'The Secret Life of an American Teenager' -- Woodley broke onto the film scene with a bang: as George Clooney's rebellious daughter in the indie hit 'The Descendants.' She's immediately on the short list of Best Supporting Actress contenders -- where she'll compete with Octavia Spencer among others -- and will likely be on the short list for many major roles in the near future.

Upcoming projects: Outside of 'Secret Life,' nothing currently on the horizon. Expect that to change very soon.
Photo: Getty
8. Elizabeth Olsen

2011 key role: 'Martha Marcy May Marlene.'

Before 2011, Elizabeth Olsen was known as the other Olsen sister; now, she's known as one of the year's biggest It-Girls, with a possible Oscar nomination in her future. For Olsen, it all started with the Sundance hit 'Martha Marcy May Marlene,' which stars the 22-year-old actress as an escapee from a cult. Olsen also appeared in two other festival faves: 'Silent House' and 'Peace Love and Misunderstanding,' opposite Jane Fonda.

Upcoming projects: In addition to her possible Best Actress nomination, Olsen has a host of other major projects lined up for 2012: 'Red Lights' with Robert De Niro, 'Liberal Arts' with 'How I Met Your Mother' star Josh Radnor and 'Very Good Girls' with Dakota Fanning. Not bad for someone whose first credit was as 'Girl in Car' in 'How the West was Fun,' a 1994 video starring Elizabeth's sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley.
Photo: AP
7. Octavia Spencer

2011 key role: 'The Help'

Part of the reason why 'The Help' earned almost $200 million worldwide this year? Octavia Spencer, who stole the show as Minny Jackson, the Mississippi maid who doesn't take no crap -- unless it's baked in a pie. Spencer made her feature debut in 1996 in 'A Time to Kill' and has over 90 television and film credits to her name, but it was 'The Help' -- and her status as an early favorite for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars -- that allowed her to break out.

Upcoming projects: Spencer stars in 'Smashed,' an ensemble drama about alcoholism as well as Diablo Cody's directorial debut, formerly titled 'Lamb of God.' There's also the Academy Awards.
Photo: Getty
6. Tom Hiddleston

2011 key roles: 'Thor,' 'Midnight in Paris,' 'War Horse,' 'The Deep Blue Sea'

Think of Tom Hiddleston as Fassbender-Lite, though perhaps with even more range. The British actor, who has been working on film and television projects since 2001, exploded in 2011 with a variety of differing roles. You know him best as Thor's evil brother Loki in 'Thor,' but Hiddleston also charmed as F. Scott Fitzgerald in 'Midnight in Paris' and plays a key role in 'War Horse,' Steven Spielberg's heartwarming drama set to woo audiences (and Oscar voters) this Christmas.

Upcoming projects: Hiddleston will reprise his role as Loki in 'The Avengers' and 'Thor 2.'
Photo: Getty
5. Chris Hemsworth

2011 key role: 'Thor'

Chris Hemsworth made such an impression as George Kirk (James's doomed father) in the prologue to 'Star Trek,' it seemed inevitable that stardom would find him. It did in 2011 with 'Thor,' where the mostly unknown Australian actor starred as the titular Norse god in a film that earned almost $500 million worldwide.

Upcoming projects: Hemsworth will be on Thor duty for some time -- in addition to 'The Avengers,' out next summer, he'll also star in 'Thor 2' -- but the young actor has quite a busy lineup of non-Marvel films on the calendar too: in addition to the long-delayed duo of 'Red Dawn' and 'Cabin in the Woods,' Hemsworth will co-star with Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron in franchise-starter 'Snow White and the Hunstman' (he's the huntsman), as well as the race-car drama 'Rush' for director Ron Howard.
Photo: Getty
4. Rooney Mara

2011 key role: 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'

Previously known for 'The Social Network' -- and for being Kate Mara's little sister -- Rooney Mara earned the coveted role of Lisbeth Salender in David Fincher's highly anticipated adaptation of 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.' Beating out the likes of Scarlett Johansson for the part has had its perks: Mara has already appeared on the covers of Vogue and EW and should become an international superstar by the time the ball drops on New Year's Eve.

Upcoming projects: An untitled film from director Terrence Malick as well as possible 'Dragon Tattoo' sequels.
Photo: AP
3. Melissa McCarthy

2011 key role: 'Bridesmaids'

Veteran comedy performer Melissa McCarthy stole 'Bridesmaids' from Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Rose Byrne -- no easy task -- and won an Emmy award for her performance in 'Mike & Molly,' the CBS sitcom from Chuck Lorre. After her lady-balls-out 'Bridesmaids' performance, you'll probably never look at a bridesmaids dress and a bathroom sink the same way ever again.

Upcoming projects: Judd Apatow's untitled 'Knocked Up' non-sequel sequel, as well as a potential lead role in Paul Feig's 'Dumb Jock' with Jon Hamm.
Photo: Getty
2. Jessica Chastain

2011 key roles: 'The Tree of Life,' 'The Help,' 'The Debt,' 'Take Shelter,' 'Texas Killing Fields,' 'Coriolanus'

If you didn't see Jessica Chastain onscreen in some capacity this year, you clearly didn't spend very much time at the movies. Whether at the art house ('Tree of Life' and 'Take Shelter') or in the mainstream ('The Help,' 'The Debt'), Chastain was an ubiquitous presence in 2011, appearing in six films -- half of which could find her in competition for an Academy Award. (Despite lauded work in 'The Tree of Life' and 'Take Shelter,' don't be surprised when Chastain is chosen for her funny and surprising performance in 'The Help.') With a roster of high-profile films on the horizon for 2012 and beyond -- including 'Horizons' with Tom Cruise; nyuck nyuck -- expect Chastain to remain one of the most sought-after leading ladies for the foreseeable future.

Upcoming projects: 'Wettest County,' with Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman; an untitled Terrence Malick project with Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem; 'Horizons' opposite Tom Cruise; 'Mama,' a horror film from producer Guillermo del Toro.

1. Michael Fassbender

2011 key roles: 'Jane Eyre,' 'X-Men: First Class,' 'A Dangerous Method,' 'Shame'

From the tormented Mr. Rochester in 'Jane Eyre' to the haunted Erik Lehnsherr (a.k.a. Magneto) in 'X-Men: First Class' to the conflicted Carl Jung in 'A Dangerous Method' to the sex-addicted Brandon in 'Shame,' Michael Fassbender affected many faces of male grief onscreen in 2011. That he inhabited each significantly different role with his own mix of charm and savvy is part of the reason why Fassbender is fassy fast becoming one of Hollywood's go-to actors for tortured protagonists. An Oscar nomination for his searing -- and full-frontal -- work in the NC-17 sex drama 'Shame' will only add to his growing clout.

Upcoming projects: Steven Soderbergh's 'Haywire'; Ridley Scott's 'Alien' non-prequel prequel 'Prometheus'; 'Twelve Years a Slave' with 'Shame' director Steve McQueen.

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