10:00 am EDT, July 29, 2018

Lucas Hedges and Dakota Johnson are among those actors killing it in 2018

Every year, there are those actors that –- thanks to good luck and/or great scheduling -– find their way onto the big screen in several different projects. For these five actors, 2018 is their year.

Sometimes the stars align and actors are gifted a year where they dominate the silver screen — appearing in not just one or two movies, but several. For example, just last year, Nicole Kidman appeared in some of the year’s most popular movies and TV shows, including Big Little Lies, The Beguiled, Top of the Lake, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

In 2011, Jessica Chastain appeared in Take Shelter, The Help, and The Tree of Life, then starred in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty the very next year. This kind of high volume exposure can help jumpstart an actor’s trajectory — as was the case with Chastain — or serve to reenergize a veteran’s career.

With the year already half over and the rest of the year’s movies taking shape, here are those actors who are winning 2018.

Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson is one of the year’s steadiest screen presences, and if you’re like me, we’re all better for it. Thompson is one of the most versatile young actresses working today, bringing a unique and stirring energy to every role she plays. In 2018, Thompson has already appeared in Alex Garland’s sci-fi horror film, Annihilation, HBO’s Westworld, and Boots Riley’s Sundance breakout Sorry to Bother You.

She also appeared in Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer -– a 50-minute film featuring music from her new album. Thompson is also set to star in the highly anticipated Creed sequel later this year. With her unique blend of sincere empathy and sharp wit, Thompson’s screen presence is like magic. Here’s to hoping that Tessa Thompson’s stellar supporting roles this year give way to even better leading roles in the near future.

Claire Foy

Having already conquered the role of Queen Elizabeth II on Netflix’s The Crown, a role that earned her an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe win, Claire Foy is making the jump back to movies in a big way this year. Not only is she set to appear alongside Ryan Gosling in First Man, the new movie from Damien Chazelle (La La Land), but she’s also the face of Sony’s reboot of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise.

Her installment, titled The Girl in the Spider’s Web, is scheduled to hit theaters this fall. It’s hard to imagine anything topping David Fincher’s 2011 film, but Foy will undoubtedly give it her all. Earlier this year, Foy led Steven Soderbergh’s twisted thriller Unsane –- a role unlike anything we had seen from her before. Her performance demonstrated a lot of potential that will no doubt help for her role as Lisbeth Salander.

Lucas Hedges

Lucas Hedges has starred in not one, not two, but three Best Picture nominees in the span of just two years. His roles in Manchester by the Sea, Lady Bird, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri have made him one of the most exciting young actors working today. In 2018, Hedges shows no signs of slowing down.

While Hedges appears in Kenneth Lonergan’s play The Waverly Gallery on Broadway this fall, he’ll also appear in three movies. Hedges will lead Joel Edgerton’s gay conversion therapy drama Boy Erased as well as Ben is Back, a family drama written and directed by Lucas’ father Peter Hedges. Lucas will also appear in Jonah Hill’s directorial debut Mid 90s.

Elizabeth Debicki

It’s not too late to board the Elizabeth Debicki train and 2018 is the perfect time to do it. Until now, Debicki’s had rather unfortunate luck, appearing in movies that just didn’t quite hit the mark –- either critically or with audiences. In 2014, she appeared in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, and in the following year picked up supporting roles in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Macbeth.

In 2018, Debicki has even more chances to shine. After delivering one of the brighter spots in The Cloverfield Paradox –- which is in the running for the worst movie of the year, Debicki also appeared in The Tale, giving a performance lauded by critics. Debicki will also star in two additional films this year, including Steve McQueen’s highly anticipated Widows and a Virginia Woolf lesbian romance film, Vita and Virginia.

Dakota Johnson

As the daughter of Melanie Griffith and the granddaughter of Tippi Hedren, Dakota Johnson comes from a line of iconic Hollywood actresses. What’s so fascinating about Dakota’s acting is the way she works to invert the stereotypes and preconceptions that defined the careers of her elders. Unfairly maligned for her starring role in the Fifty Shades franchise, Johnson’s talent has been largely underestimated, but a look at her other roles, including A Bigger Splash, show an impressive skill.

In 2018, Johnson already starred in Fifty Shades Freed and will lead Luca Guadagnino’s highly anticipated Suspiria remake. Johnson is also set to appear in Bad Times at the El Royale from the director of A Cabin in the Woods and The Peanut Butter Falcon. Dakota Johnson seems set on proving wrong those who considered her a passing fad and I, for one, am thrilled to watch her do it.

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