Up and Comers Presents: The Breakout Stars of 2010


December 14, 2010 | Posted By and In Features, Lists | 2112 Views



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Every year, a new batch of youngsters (and not so youngsters) come out of nowhere to capture the attention of the world with their talent, charisma and onscreen presence. This is the first year Up and Comers has been online, and 2010 truly has been a great year to watch Hollywood’s rising talent get noticed, land awards and high profile roles, and solidify their paths to becoming the stars of tomorrow. Given the focus of this website, you can imagine how excited we are to bring you our favorite Breakout Stars of the year. There were a lot to choose from and it took us a bit of work to narrow it down, and certainly we probably left out a couple of your favorites, but that is just testament to how great 2010 was for emerging talent. From indie darlings to superheroes, comedians and international imports, we are proud to present our picks for the Top 10 Breakout Stars of 2010:


Andrew Garfield | Age: 27
Breakout Moments: Landing the role of Spider-Man, “Never Let Me Go”, “The Social Network”

It’s hard to argue any other up and coming actor has had a better year than Andrew Garfield. Already a well respected indie acting talent in Britain, where he had primarily been working and where he has already won a BAFTA Award, Garfield was thrust upon American moviegoers when he landed the incredibly coveted role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man for director Marc Webb’s reboot of the franchise. Skeptics who were vehemently against the reboot suddenly found a reason to be optimistic. Their fears were further assuaged when he blew critics and audiences alike away in two completely different but equally impressive roles, as the timid and repressed Tommy in Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go”, and as the empathetic heart-of-the-story Eduardo Saverin in David Fincher’s “The Social Network”. Just announced as a Golden Globe nominee and likely to become an Oscar nominee for his role in “Network” as well, it’s hard to believe Garfield has yet to hit the peak of his career.


Chloe Moretz | Age: 13
Breakout Moments: “Kick-Ass”, “Let Me In”

Audiences knew there was something special about Chloe Moretz when she stole scenes as the advice-giving, wiser-than-her-years younger sister of Joseph Gordon Levitt in 2009’s “(500) Days of Summer”. The youngest of our Breakout Stars, 13-year-old Moretz has successfully transitioned from small indie roles to take the lead in several hits of 2010. From foul-mouthed action hero Hit-Girl in “Kick-Ass” to ageless vampire Abby in “Let Me In”, Moretz surprised and endeared audiences by forgoing the Dakota Fanning school of playing adorable little girls in favor of taking on dark, twisted and decidedly adult roles who just happen to be children. Garnering two Critics Choice Award nominations for both 2010 roles, Moretz’s star continues to rise. She recently completed “The Fields” opposite Sam Worthington and is currently on location in Paris shooting “Hugo Cabret” for no less than Martin Scrosese.


Aaron Johnson | Age: 20
Breakout Moments: “Kick-Ass”, “Nowhere Boy”

Moretz’s co-star in “Kick-Ass” has had quite a breakout year himself. Truly breaking out in “Kick Ass”, Aaron Johnson also got the support of the critics with his turn as a young John Lennon in British indie hit “Nowhere Boy”. Johnson went on to appear on the short list for every major action/superhero franchise preparing to go into production. He was a “Spider-Man” finalist, sought for “X-Men: First Class”, and remains in contention for the title role in Bryan Singer’s “Jack the Giant Killer”. But he’s no tough-guy action hero who only appeals to guys. In his native Britain, he was mostly known for being an object of teen girl idolatry in films like “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging”. Like many of our Breakout Stars, Johnson has that rare combination of acting talent, indie cred and the ability to carry commercially successful films in a myriad of genres. It seems only a matter of time before he hands a high profile franchise and becomes a bona-fide star. In the meantime, he has “Kick-Ass 2” waiting in the wings and is currently filming “Albert Nobbs” opposite the next actor on our list.


Mia Wasikowska | Age: 21
Breakout Moments: “Alice in Wonderland”, “The Kids Are All Right”

When Tim Burton hand-picked complete unknown Australian actress Mia Wasikowska to play Alice in his big budget 3-D adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland”, there was some skepticism as to whether it would make her a true breakout, in the same way that “Superman Returns” didn’t make much of a breakout out of Brandon Routh. That speculation was quickly debunked when “Alice” became a monstrosity of a hit, and Wasikowska followed it up not with another mindless big budget franchise, but with a turn in the critical indie hit “The Kids Are All Right”, holding her own opposite screen veterans and Oscar hopefuls Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. If that weren’t enough, Wasikowska then took on another character just as iconic and classic as Alice: Jane Eyre in a 2011 adaptation opposite Michael Fassbender. A supremely talented young actress making whip-smart career decisions, Wasikowska can only go further up from here.


Garrett Hedlund | Age: 26
Breakout Moments: “Tron: Legacy”, “Country Strong”

It feels strange to call Garrett Hedlund a breakout now when he’s been on our radar since we fell in love with his effortless charm as a good Christian boy led astray by Lindsay Lohan in 2007’s “Georgia Rule”, but it’s still exciting that he is finally having a bit of a moment in 2010. As the lead character in the next installment of one of the most iconic sci-fi franchises of all time, “Tron: Legacy”, Hedlund has to live up to the high expectations of not only fanboys, but fathers of fanboys who loved the 1982 original “Tron” as well. And while doing that, he’ll also go after the female vote as a rising country crooner in Gwenyth Paltrow starrer “Country Strong”, which proves he’s a not just a great actor, he’s got a pretty damn good singing voice too. And he may be the most scrutinized of all in the recently wrapped “On the Road”, in which he portrays Beat fanatics’ idol Dean Moriarty (real life Neal Cassady) in a movie that many fans believe shouldn’t have been made at all. But if anybody is up to the task of changing people’s minds, it’s Hedlund.

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Linda is currently a Film Reporter at TheWrap. She studied Film & Digital Media at the University of California. She likes David Fincher, New York City, and cats. She founded Up&Comers in 2010. You can find more of her random ramblings, 140 characters at a time, on Twitter @lindazge.