2:00 pm EDT, March 1, 2014

Oscar’s future is bright: The nominees of tomorrow

If there’s one thing that becomes abundantly clear each and every year as the Oscars roll around, its that talent never ends, and as great artists retire, new faces will emerge to fill their places.

Every year of film brings thousands of actors in thousands of different roles. Some are new faces just finding their footing in the industry, and some are instantly recognizable names taking their curtain call on a satisfying career. It’s always sad to say good-bye to such talents, but they can find comfort in knowing that a new crop of talent is nipping at their heels in more ways than one. The talent and poise of the 11 young actors and actresses below is astounding, and we can’t wait to see which of them picks up the golden statue first.

The Nominees of Tomorrow

Dylan O’Brien

Stiles Teen Wolf Season 3a Motel California optimized

Where you’ve seen him:

Teen Wolf, New Girl

Where you’ll see him next:

The Maze Runner

Stiles started out like any other sidekick on a supernatural teen drama. He was the funny man, the go-to-guy, the one you could count on to come to the rescue when you needed a regular human to get the job done. Dylan O’Brien then took the sidekick archetype and turned it on its head.

Even before his latest dark twist, O’Brien was astounding viewers left and right with his natural charisma and talent that oozes off the screen. He has encountered his most challenging scenes in this 3rd season, and as each episode progresses his natural ability and supernatural dedication to the craft continue to shine.

This summer, Dylan O’Brien takes on his first lead role in The Maze Runner, an adaptation of the best-selling novel by James Dashner. There are many challenges in leading a film that O’Brien has yet to encounter, but his previous work speaks volumes to his capabilities, and we’re positive he won’t disappoint.

Miles Teller

Miles teller 21 & Over Divergent Peter optimized

Where you’ve seen him:

21 & Over, The Spectacular Now

Where you’ll see him next:

Divergent, Whiplash

While many people haven’t heard of Miles Teller, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a household name. His first major film projects painted him as the go to party boy, and while he fills that role with gusto, there is more to this actor than meets the eye. His foray into some more tender material in The Spectacular Now saw moderate success, but the horizon is looking bright.

This May, Miles can be seen as the disturbed young foil, Peter, to our heroine, Tris, in Divergent. This seemingly simple character boasts more layers than you may originally sense, giving the character depth and intensity actors yearn for. We are sure that Miles is more than up for the challenge.

He can also be seen in the indie film Whiplash, which received raving reviews out of Sundance in addition to picking up both the top audience and grand jury prizes. It won’t be long before Miles Teller is walking the red carpet talking about his own crazy trip through award season.

Michael B. Jordan

Michael B. Jordan Fruitvale Station optimized

Where you’ve seen him:

Fruitvale Station, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, Chronicle

Where you’ll see him next:

Triple Nine

Many know him as Steve Montgomery from Chronicle, Vince Howard from Friday Night Lights, or Alex from Parenthood, but those projects are only the bright beginning for a very promising young talent. One of the most overlooked performances of this award season was Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station. If that role alone isn’t enough to convince you of this actor’s bright future, his upcoming projects are sure to do the trick.

You will see him next stretching his acting muscles in a variety of different projects. This Awkward Moment (in theatres now) is a raunchy comedy about a trio of friends that make a pact to stick together after one of them goes through a difficult romantic situation. Triple Nine boasts an impressive cast, including Aaron Paul and Kate Winslet, to tell the story of a gang looking to commit murder in order to pull off the heist of their lives.

And, yes, he will also delve into the wildly successful world of comic book movies as The Human Torch in the upcoming Fantastic Four remake. Who knows which of his future projects will be ‘the one’, but there is no doubt in our minds that Michael B. Jordan will be walking the red carpet for many years to come.

Brie Larson

Brie Larson Short Term 12 optimized

Where you’ve seen her:

21 Jump Street, Short Term 12

Where you’ll see her next:

Trainwreck, Basmati Blues

If you missed out on this young lady’s starring turn in Short Term 12 last year, you need to re-evaluate your life choices. As the leader of a halfway house for troubled teens, Larson manages to make the story more about the people behind the circumstances that got them there, than the many cliched versions of these types of movies have ever done before.

Her character, Grace, takes in each and every life that touches her world and helps them leave with something they didn’t have before, whether it’s wisdom, tools to survive, or some sort of self-discovery. Larson embodies Grace’s sympathetic nature with poise beyond her years.

You can catch her next in Judd Apatow’s anticipated new comedy, Trainwreck, details for which are being kept under lock and key at the moment, probably by whomever manages to keep all of J.J. Abrams secrets, and also in Basmati Blues, a billed romantic musical comedy about a scientist and her father who genetically modify rice and then are sent to rural India to sell it to farmers. The latter also stars Donald Sutherland, assumedly playing her father, so there’s no doubt that has promise.

Emma Watson

Emma Watson Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows optimized

Where you’ve seen her:

Perks of Being a Wallflower, Harry Potter series

Where you’ll see her next:

Noah, Regression

So, most of us fandom fiends have a special place in our hearts for Emma Watson, and if we had our way she would win every award, every time. On a more serious note, she truly is a talent to watch. She grew as an actress right before our eyes and improved as each Harry Potter movie arrived.

Now she has branched out to play some truly intriguing characters that have challenged her skills as an actor as well as our perception of her. Her involvement in Perks of Being a Wallflower as well as My Week with Marilyn and The Bling Ring have paired her with some truly spectacular directors and have helped to lay the groundwork for a full and satisfying career.

While her previous work has all been pretty spectacular, we cannot help but giggle with glee when we think about her upcoming projects. Just a few weeks from now, audiences can see her in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, and working with a director as influential and groundbreaking as him can only open more doors for the incredibly talented girl that we will always remember fondly as our Hermione.

Logan Lerman

Logan Lerman 310 to Yuma optimized

Where you’ve seen him:

Perks of Being a Wallflower, 3:10 to Yuma, Percy Jackson series

Where you’ll see him next:

Noah, Fury

Whether your first exposure to Logan Lerman was as the youngest son of the Martin family in The Patriot back in 2000, or as the eldest son of the Evans family from 3:10 to Yuma seven years later, he has had his finger on the industry’s pulse, and has been waiting for the right role to come along to show us what he could really do.

Lucky for us, that role came sooner rather than later. His turn as Charlie in Perks of Being a Wallflower was truly remarkable and proved that he could bear the burden of leading a movie. He also dove headfirst into the YA adaptation genre as Percy Jackson, and while the films may not have exceeded expectations, fans weren’t entirely let down as the one part of those movies that has always seemed to work was Lerman as the lead character.

Next, he teams up with former Perks co-star Emma Watson again, this time as brother and sister, in Aronofsky’s Noah which hits theatres March 28, and is sure to be another great step for his career. Working with a director as capable and talented as Aronofsky can only mean great things for his future, and we cannot wait. He will also be appearing in Fury as a part of a five man Sherman tank crew that takes on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines during World War II from the director of Training Day and End of Watch, David Ayer.

Aaron Paul

Aaron Paul Jesse Pinkman Breaking Bad optimized

Where you’ve seen him:

Breaking Bad

Where you’ll see him next:

Need for Speed, Exodus, Triple Nine, Fathers and Daughters

Huge fans of Breaking Bad know just how talented an actor Aaron Paul is, but those that may not be familiar with his impressive turn as Jesse Pinkman will soon know this man’s name. He started his career by taking small roles in many successful television series, including Judging Amy, ER, and Veronica Mars, but his role on Breaking Bad was his announcement to the world that he is ready to take it by storm, and with two Primetime Emmy awards to show for his work, I’d say he did himself proud.

Now that Breaking Bad has (sadly) ended, Aaron Paul has been one very busy man, jumping from project to project and covering almost every genre on the way. Need for Speed (in theatres March 14) covers action, Exodus covers the epic drama, Triple Nine covers the crime drama, and Fathers and Daughters is a clear example of the emotional drama. We could very well be seeing him walking the red carpet sooner than we think.

Mae Whitman

Mae Whitman Parenthood optimized

Where you’ve seen her:

Parenthood, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Independence Day

Where you’ll see her next:


If someone had told you many years ago that the little girl playing the daughter of the President of the United States in Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day would grow up to play a kickass punk Buddhist in Perks of Being a Wallflower, you probably would have shook your head and shuffled away. You also would have been sorely mistaken.

Mae Whitman has done a superb job of translating the most misunderstood of characters into living, breathing embodiments of the obstacles that we each face in everyday life. She could make a career out of playing those types of characters, but we expect far more from her than even that.

While she may not have any huge film projects lined up like many other examples on this list, Mae Whitman has her regular gig playing Amber Holt on NBC’s Parenthood for us to look forward to. Her ability to play opposite the incredible talent of Lauren Graham and creating one of the most realistic portrayals of the mother-daughter dynamic on television demonstrates just how far this young actress has to go. The right part will come along for her, and when it does… Look out Hollywood.

James McAvoy

James McAvoy Atonement optimized

Where you’ve seen him:

The Last King Of Scotland, X-Men: First Class, Atonement, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Where you’ll see him next:

X-Men: Days of Future Past, Frankenstein

Whether you identify with him as the newest Professor X, or as the satyr Mr. Tumnus from the Narnia films, James McAvoy has slowly been creeping his way into all of our consciousness and has been doing so by turning in solid performances time and time again in great films.

You may also recognize him from his work in Atonement or Becoming Jane, both of which demonstrate his dedication to the subtle. He does not go after the loud and noticeable roles, but rather chooses the quieter, more internally intense roles where he really shines. When the right script meets his hands, there is nothing this man can’t do.

His work has gotten him close to the nominee field for movies biggest night, but he has not yet made it to the party. That is sure to change, but no matter what his Oscar future may hold, we will surely enjoy seeing him on screen each and every time. His next project, X-Men: Days of Future Past, hits theaters this May. He is also slated to appear as Victor Von Frankenstein in an adaptation of the classic story which should see release some time next year. No matter what type of role you enjoy most from Mr. McAvoy, you will surely never be disappointed.

Elle Fanning

Elle Fanning Super 8 optimized

Where you’ve seen her:

Super 8, Babel, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Where you’ll see her next:

Maleficient, The Boxtrolls

Elle Fanning’s first foray into the movie industry was as a younger version of her real life older sister, Dakota Fanning, in 2001’s I Am Sam. Since then, she has stepped out of her sister’s shadow and has made a name for herself by working with some of the most respected directors in the business. When your resume includes the names J.J. Abrams, Alejandro González Iñárritu, David Fincher, and Cameron Crowe as former co-workers, it’s safe to say that no one is comparing you to your sister anymore.

Her next big project hits theaters this May. A little film called Maleficent is sure to create even greater opportunities for this budding young actress to display her prowess. It is only a matter of time before she is gliding down the red carpet discussing her next groundbreaking performance, and as she is only 16 years old, time is one luxury this actress has in spades.

Jena Malone

Jena Malone Pride and Prejudice Kitty Bennett optimized

Where you’ve seen her:

Stepmom, Life as a House, Saved!, Pride and Prejudice, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Where you’ll see her next:

Inherent Vice, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2

Last, but most certainly never least, we must discuss the lovely Jena Malone. She has been a force to reckon with since she wormed her way into our hearts at the tender age of 14 as Anna Harrison in 1998’s Stepmom, but its her most recent performance in this year’s box office smash The Hunger Games: Catching Fire that has us all on the edge of our seats.

She captured the fire and snark of Johanna Mason in brilliant fashion and turned a supporting character into a scene stealer. She has always demonstrated the unique ability to disappear into whatever character she has taken on and that quality makes us think that we will be seeing her at quite a few award shows as her career continues it’s ascent.

In addition to catching her in the last two installments of The Hunger Games franchise as the incomparable (because she’d probably kill you if you did) Johanna Mason, she is also slated to appear in Paul Thomas Anderson’s crime drama Inherent Vice alongside some of Hollywood’s most powerful players. It is only a matter of time before she holds the iconic golden statue in her hands, and we will happily start taking bets now.

Who do you think has an Oscar nomination in their future?

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