In this world of Kardashians and Real Housewives, there’s something very refreshing about discovering someone with actual talent. It’s good to know that there’s still kids out there who don’t want to take the shortcut to fame and fortune, rather that they are willing to work hard and let their talents lead them to super stardom. What we have below is a list of the Top 10 Young Actors you’ll want to look out for in 2012. Some of these youngsters have been working hard for years, either in television or in other countries; others have maintained a low profile. Whatever their situation, the actors that make up our list have one very important thing in common, and that’s talent.
10. Caleb Landry Jones
- Where He’s From: Garland, Texas
- Where You’ve Seen Him: “Friday Night Lights” and X-Men: First Class
- What’s Next: Caleb Landry Jones is starting 2012 with a bang. The 22-year-old actor is playing Mark Wahlberg‘s troubled brother-in-law and Kate Beckinsale‘s little brother in Contraband. Jones is currently filming Neil Jordan‘s vampire drama Byzantium, where he plays the lead character. Brandon Cronenberg, son director David Cronenberg, also cast Jones in his feature debut Antiviral, which is also scheduled for a 2012 release.
9. Lena Dunham
- Where She’s From: NYC, New York
- You Know Her From: As the writer, director and star of Tiny Furniture
- What’s Next: Lena Dunham first made a splash with her low-budget movie Tiny Furniture, which caught the eye of big shot comedy director and producer Judd Apatow. With the help of Apatow, the 25-year-old actress, writer, and director will be making her television debut next spring in HBO’s “Girls.” The first tease for the series recently hit the web and it’s definitely one show we’ll be tuning in to watch. Dunham will also be making an apperances in Judd Apatow’s This is Forty.
8. Chadwick Boseman
- Where He’s From: Brooklyn, New York
- You Know Him From: Various TV shows such as “Lincoln Heights” and “Lie To Me“
- What’s Next: Chadwick Boseman will be making the big leap from unknown TV actor to silver screen superstar in 2012. Boseman will be headlining the upcoming biopic 42 as Jackie Robinson. Harrison Ford will star opposite Boseman as Branch Rickey, the LA Dodgers executive who helped break down racial barrier when he signed Robinson. This film will make this young actor’s career, no doubt.
7. Holliday Grainger
- Where She’s From: Manchester, England, U.K.
- You Know Her From: As Lucrezia Borgia in “The Borgias” and Jane Eyre
- What’s Next: Holliday Grainger is on that fast track to stardom. The 23-year-old British actress has two films scheduled for 2012. First, we’ll see her star opposite Twilight megastar Robert Pattison in Bel Ami. Grainger will also play the pivotal role of Estella in Mike Newell‘s adaptation of Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations.
6. Brit Marling
- Where She’s From: Chicago, Illinois
- You Know Her From: Another Earth
- What’s Next: After showing up at Sundance with not one but two movies, Brit Marling generated some buzz. In 2012, this 27-year-old actress will appear alongside Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon in Arbitrage. She has also been cast in Robert Redford‘s next movie The Company You Keep, a film that will tell the story of a former Weather Underground activist. Marling joins a cast of talented young actors like Anna Kendrick and Shia LaBeouf, and older serious actors like Nick Nolte, Richard Jenkins and Brendan Gleeson. And lastly, Marling will star alongside Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard in The East, which is directed by another Sundance newcomer Zal Batmanglij.
5. Diego Boneta
- Where He’s From: Mexico City, Mexico
- You Know Him From: “Pretty Little Liars” and “90210“
- What’s Next: Before “Pretty Little Liars” and “90210,” Diego Boneta was already a well-known actors in Mexico. He starred in the extremely popular Mexican soap opera “Rebelde.” Next year, the Latin sensation will make his big screen debut in Adam Shankman‘s Rock of Ages alongside Tom Cruise and Julianne Hough. Recently, Boneta was cast in Paradise Lost where he’ll he starring with the likes of Camille Belle, Bradley Cooper, and Casey Affleck. It seems like Boneta is set on becoming an international celebrity.
4. Felicity Jones
- Where She’s From: Birmingham, U.K.
- You Know Her From: The British TV show “The Worst Witch,” 2010′s The Tempest and this year’s dramatic romance Like Crazy
- What’s Next: Felicity Jones is the talk of the town right now. Her performance in Drake Doremus‘ Like Crazy has stunned critics and audiences alike, and this has put the 28-year-old actress on high demand. Who’s getting a piece? Warren Beatty. The Hollywood legend has booked Jones to star in his directorial about Howard Hughes. In 2012, Jones will reunite with Doremus for another project, which will also feature Guy Pearce and Kyle MacLachlan.
3. Shiloh Fernandez
- Where He’s From: Ukiah, California
- You Know Him From: Red Riding Hood
- What’s Next: Shiloh Fernandez lost the role of Edward Cullen to Robert Pattinson back before this whole Twilight-mania. But after starring in Red Riding Hood this year, this young actor has opened a lot of door for himself. 2012 is going to be a big year for Fernandez. He’ll be joining Brit Marling, another actress on this list, in The East; he’s also been cast in Adult World opposite Emma Roberts; and he’ll also be appearing in Syrup with a number of other young talents like Amber Heard, Kellan Lutz and Brittany Snow.
2. Elizabeth Olsen
- Where She’s From: Sherman Oaks, California
- Best Known For: Being the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and her debut performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene
- What’s Next: It would be wrong not to put Elizabeth Olsen on this list. Even with two infamous twin sisters, this Olsen was completely out of our radar. She made waves this year with her debut, breakthrough performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene, and now she’s everyone’s favorite Olsen. Next year the 22-year-old actress will star in a number of films including Liberal Arts with Zac Efron, and Red Lights with Robert De Niro and Cillian Murphy. There’s also Silent House, Olsen’s other film at Sundance, which will be getting released early next year; and Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding with Jane Fonda, which doesn’t have a release date yet. With all of these movies lined up, Lizzy Olsen is making a name for herself.
1. Rooney Mara
- Where She’s From: Bedford, New York
- You Know Her From: The Social Network and The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo
- What’s Next: Rooney Mara was on our list of Top Actors to Watch in 2011, but we felt the need to put her again. The thing is, all Mara is known for right now (besides her wonderful performance in The Social Network) is as the girl who’ll play the American version of Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The movie hasn’t even hit theaters, but Mara is already receiving award nominations for her performance. Next year, Mara will star in Kathryn Bigelow‘s next Untitled International Thriller, about the hunt and capture of Osama bin Laden. Lately, she’s been seen filming Lawless alongside the man of the hour, Ryan Gosling. Next year, Mara will be the woman of the hour.
Do you agree with our list? Who would you have liked to see on it?