It used to seem like there were only a handful of actors who were allowed to headline the biggest movies of the year. But with more content available now than ever before, it also means more room for actors to share the spotlight. No longer do the summer blockbuster have to star the same few people, nor do the winter dramas have to fluctuate between the same Academy Award-winners.
Now, not only does it seem like they’re more actors than ever before, but that these actors are also allowed to seamlessly float through genres and mediums. For instance, there’s no longer any embarrassment in returning to TV to star in a series like Game of Thrones or Stranger Things, even after an actor has made it on the big screen.
We’re sure we’re not the only ones who keep tabs on our favorite actors' careers by checking their IMDb pages and seeing what projects they currently have in the works. After all, if we loved a number of movies that one actor has appeared in, there’s a good chance that we might just love their next project as well.
So let’s see if we can figure out someone's top three movies based on their preferences of these successful actors.
Leonardo DiCaprio began acting professionally when he was still a child. Some of his earlier roles included Growing Pains and Critters 3. But many probably remember first taking serious note of him when he played one of the two leads in the 1997 hit Titanic. The film solidified him as leading man material, and he has popped up in no shortage of critical and commercial hits since. Some of his more recent movies include The Wolf of Wall Street and The Revenant — the latter of which won him the Oscar for Best Actor (Wikipedia).
One of the most commercially successful actors of her generation, Zoe Saldana has starred in a number of successful franchises. She played the alien Neytiri in Avatar, the highest grossing movie of all time. She appeared as Nyota Uhura in the Star Trek reboot film series. And she currently plays Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Saldana may often be hidden behind layers of CGI and make-up, but there’s no denying her talents (Wikipedia). But is she your type of actor?
Chris Hemsworth is best known for playing Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — a role which he debuted in back in the 2011 film. He’s expected to reprise his role as the God of Thunder in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, which will be out in April of this year. But Hemsworth has also popped up in his fair share of other films in that amount of time, including The Cabin in the Woods, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Bad Times at the El Royale (Wikipedia). But are you a fan?
In her first role as a leading character in Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence ended up earning an Oscar nomination for Best Actress of the Year. From there, Lawrence has continued to be one of the most critically acclaimed actors of her generation. She’s won two Academy Awards to date, including one for Silver Linings Playbook. She’s also popped up in two blockbuster franchises with the Hunger Games and X-Men film series (Wikipedia). So would you be opposed to popping in one of these movies?
One of the biggest TV stars working today, Kit Harington really began to take off when he landed the role of Jon Snow in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones. While he may just have been another supporting player at the beginning of the show, Jon Snow has slowly revealed himself to be one of the story’s most courageous and noble heroes. Harington will reprise the role in the upcoming eighth and final season of the show, which will debut in April of this year. You may have also spotted Harington in the films Pompeii and Brimstone (Wikipedia).
After working as a dramatic actress for a number of years, Charlize Theron has popped up in her fair share of action movies as of late. This trend really began with her appearance in 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, where she was arguably the true hero of the story with her portrayal of Imperator Furiosa. Then in 2017, she played the villain in the latest Fast and Furious installment, while also starring as the lead in the action spy thriller Atomic Blonde. This year, she is expected to appear in Flarsky and The Addams Family (Wikipedia).
Idris Elba has appeared in everything from gritty dramas to light-hearted sitcoms to superhero blockbusters. Many first remember taking note of him when he portrayed Stringer Bell on the HBO series The Wire — which is largely considered one of the greatest TV shows ever made. He achieved widespread recognition thanks to movies like 28 Weeks Later and Prometheus, and he also landed a recurring role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe playing Heimdall. You may also remember him from his guest-starring role as Charles Minor on The Office (Wikipedia).
Gal Gadot started working in blockbusters thanks to her recurring role as Gisele Yashar in the Fast and Furious film series. But things really took off for the actress when she landed the part of Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe. She debuted as the iconic comic book character in 2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before popping up in her own solo film the following year. She also appeared in 2017’s Justice League, and she is expected to reprise the part in next year’s Wonder Woman 1984 (Wikipedia).
Things really took off for Chris Pine when he landed the leading role of Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek reboot film series. He’s appeared as the Starfleet captain in two subsequent sequels, with a third possibly in the works. You may have also spotted him as the lead in the movies Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Finest Hours, and Hell or High Water. In 2017, he joined the DC Extended Universe by playing Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman — a role he is expected to reprise in the upcoming sequel (Wikipedia).
Scarlett Johansson started receiving critical acclaim right out of the gate thanks to her appearances in movies such as Ghost World and Lost in Translation. She enjoyed continued success on the stage and the screen before really shooting into the mainstream thanks to her performance as Black Widow in the MCU. While she continues to star in blockbusters, Johansson has also appeared in lesser-known dramas and independent films, including Her and Under the Skin — both of which came out in 2013 (Wikipedia).
Tom Hiddleston is best-known for playing Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He debuted as the character in 2011’s Thor, and he most recently appeared in last year’s Avengers: Endgame, where the character met his demise at the hands of the Mad Titan Thanos. But outside of the superhero genre, Hiddleston has popped up in his fair share of films during this amount of time, including the 2011 romantic comedy Midnight in Paris, as well as the war drama War Horse that same year. You may have also spotted him in the mini-series The Night Manager (Wikipedia).
Angelina Jolie has been working professionally in Hollywood since the 1980s, though her career really didn’t take off until a decade later when she appeared in such films as Cyborg 2 and Hackers. In the 2000s, Jolie was largely known as an action star thanks to her performance in the Lara Croft film series, as well as in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Salt, and Wanted. More recently she’s appeared in more dramatic films, where she has also branched out into directing. From 2014 to 2016 she was married to fellow actor Brad Pitt (Wikipedia).
One of the biggest movie stars of all time, George Clooney has been working in the entertainment industry since the 1970s. But he first achieved widespread recognition thanks to his role as Dr. Doug Ross on ER in the 1990s. From there, he made the jump to the big screen, showing up in movies like From Dusk till Dawn and Three Kings. In 2006, he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Awards thanks to his performance in Syriana. More recently, he appeared in Money Monster and Tomorrowland (Wikipedia).
Emma Stone’s first film role came when she appeared as one of the love interests in the 2007 R-rated comedy Superbad. While she has continued to work in comedy, Stone has also branched out into more dramatic work. She won an Academy Award in 2016 thanks to her performance in La La Land, where she appeared opposite Ryan Gosling. She has also appeared with Gosling in Gangster Squad and Crazy, Stupid, Love. Last year, she appeared in both the miniseries Maniac and the historical drama film The Favourite (Wikipedia).
Known for his versatility, Oscar Isaac has appeared in everything from indie dramas to sci-fi blockbusters. Some of his earlier films include the action movies Drive and Sucker Punch, where he appeared more in a supporting capacity. Then, in 2013, he received critical acclaim thanks to his leading role in Inside Llewyn Davis. But most mainstream audiences probably recognize Isaac thanks to his role as the rebel pilot Poe Dameron in the Star Wars series — a role he is expected to reprise in the upcoming Episode IX (Wikipedia).
Kristen Bell first rose to prominence thanks to her role as Veronica Mars on the cult UPN/ CW series, which ran from 2004 to 2007. She went on to reprise the role as the young detective in the 2014 fan-funded film, while a reprisal TV series is also in the works. Up on the big screen, Bell has continued to demonstrate both her comedic and dramatic abilities in movies such as Forgetting Sarah Marshal, Couples Retreat, and the Bad Moms film series. Bell also provides her voice to the character of Princess Anna in Frozen and its upcoming sequel (Wikipedia).
Of course, Daniel Radcliffe will forever be known for playing Harry Potter in the fantasy film series. But the actor has gone on to enjoy versatile roles well beyond this blockbuster franchise. You may have also caught him in the film The Woman in Black, Swiss Army Man, and Now You See Me 2. Radcliffe has also enjoyed success on the stage, where in 2011, he starred in the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. In 2013, he married fellow actress Erin Darke (Wikipedia).
Speaking of the Harry Potter film series, we certainly can’t forget the work of Emma Watson, who played the studious Hermione Granger throughout the eight-film series. Like many of her other Harry Potter co-stars, Watson has had continued success on both the big and small screen since. In 2013, she appeared in both The Bling Ring and This Is the End — the later where she portrayed a fictionalized version of herself. Then, in 2017, she once again enjoyed massive success in the fantasy genre thanks to her performance as Belle in Beauty and the Beast (Wikipedia).
Many people first remember taking note of Bradley Cooper when he appeared as one of the leads in the breakout comedy hit The Hangover. He would go on to appear in the film’s two subsequent sequels, while at the same time he began branching out into more versatile roles. In 2012, he appeared in the drama films The Place Beyond the Pines and Silver Linings Playbook, both of which earned the actor critical acclaim. This recognition then continued in films such as A Star is Born, which Cooper also directed (Wikipedia).
After appearing in a number of comedy films, including Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and 21 Jump Street, Brie Larson achieved critical acclaim thanks to her performance in the 2015 drama film Room. She ended up winning the Academy Award for her performance in the movie, bringing Larson even wider spread recognition. She is now set to appear as Captain Marvel in the upcoming MCU film, which will hit theaters on March 8th of this year. And Larson is already expected to reprise the role in Avengers: Endgame (Wikipedia).
Many probably first remember taking note of Zac Efron when he appeared as the lead character of Troy Bolton in Disney’s High School Musical film series. Since then, he has continued to demonstrate both his comedy and singing abilities in movies such as Hairspray, New Year’s Eve, and The Greatest Showman. Efron has also become known for his mature comedy movies, including Neighbors, and Baywatch. This year, he is expected to appear in the film The Beach Bum (Wikipedia).
One of the highest-grossing actors of all time, Elizabeth Banks has appeared in no shortage of hits. Some of these include The Hunger Games and Pitch Perfect film series, as well as the comedies Role Model and The Lego movies. Banks has also enjoyed recurring roles on some of the most popular TV shows of their time, including Modern Family and 30 Rock. More recently, the actress has branched out into directing, serving as a director on Pitch Perfect 2 and the upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot (Wikipedia).
One of James McAvoy first big roles on the big screen came when he portrayed Mr. Tumnus in the live-action adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But today, many may recognize the Scottish actor thanks to his portrayal of Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series. He also played the villain in the 2017 thriller Split, a role which he is expected to reprise in the upcoming film Glass — which will find McAvoy’s character squaring off against Bruce Willis’s David Dunn from the 2000 film Unbreakable (Wikipedia).
A favorite amongst sci-fi and fantasy nerds, Morena Baccarin portrayed Inara Serra in the cult TV series Firefly back in 2002. She also starred in Stargate SG-1 as Adria during the tenth season of the series. More recently, Baccarin has enjoyed success on the big screen, popping up in the Deadpool film series where she plays the girlfriend and later wife of lead character Wade Wilson. You may have also spotted her in the TV shows Homeland or Gotham (Wikipedia). So would you be interested in watching any of these movies or shows?
Starting out as a child actor, some of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s earlier films include Angels in the Outfield and 10 Things I Hate About You. Gordon-Levitt also appeared on six seasons of the hit NBC sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun from 1996 to 2001. In the later 2000s, Gordon-Levitt worked his way up to leading man material in movies such as 500 Days of Summer and Looper. Later this year, he is set to play the lead in the upcoming action movie, titled 7500 (Wikipedia).
Blake Lively rose to stardom thanks to her leading role as Serena van der Woodsen on the teen drama series Gossip Girl. The show ran from 2007 to 2012, at which time Lively was also enjoying success in feature films. She appeared in The Town opposite Ben Affleck in 2010, and the following year she appeared opposite Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern. She would go on to marry Reynolds in 2012. Together, they have two children. More recently, Lively starred in last year’s black comedy A Simple Favor with Anna Kendrick (Wikipedia).
After appearing on the sci-fi series Stargate Atlantis from 2004 to 2009, Jason Momoa reached a new level of success when he appeared as Khal Drogo in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones. He has continued to stay popular amongst sci-fi and fantasy fans thanks to his role as Aquaman/ Arthur Curry in the DC Extended Universe. He appeared as the character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League before going on to star in his own solo outing, which was released in December of last year (Wikipedia).
Speaking of Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke is best known for playing the Dragon Queen Daenerys Targaryen on the hit HBO fantasy series. In season one, she was the wife of Khal Drogo — though she has survived much longer than her husband and is now one of the favorites to win the Iron Throne back in the Seven Kingdoms. Clarke has since gone on to join the Star Wars franchise as well, appearing in last year’s Solo: A Star Wars Story as Han’s love interest/ childhood friend, Qi’ra (Wikipedia).
Yet another actor who began working in Hollywood at a young age, some of Jake Gyllenhaal’s earlier films included City Slickers and October Sky. In 2001, he played the lead in the cult classic Donnie Darko, which was just one of the first of many films where Gyllenhaal would appear as a leading man. He has starred in both critical and commercial hits, ranging anywhere from Brokeback Mountain to Source Code. Later this year, he will play the villain Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home (Wikipedia).
Often cast to play rough and tumble characters, many first remember taking note of Michelle Rodriguez when she appeared as Anna Lucia Cortez in the popular ABC sci-fi drama series Lost. Since 2001, Rodriguez has also played Letty Ortiz in The Fast and the Furious film series — which has gone on to become one of the highest grossing film franchises of all time. This year, she is expected to appear in the action movie Alita: Battle Angel as a cyborg named Gelda (Wikipedia).
Ben Affleck first rose to prominence after appearing in the 1997 drama Good Will Hunting, which he also served on as a writer with his fellow co-star Matt Damon. The two would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for their work on the film. From there, Affleck showed up as a leading man in a number of hits, including Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. He currently portrays Bruce Wayne/ Batman in the DC Extended Universe, though it is unknown if he will reprise the role in any future installments (Wikipedia).
Yet another actor who has turned into a star thanks to Game of Thrones, Sophie Turner has portrayed Sansa Stark on the hit HBO fantasy since season one. She is expected to reprise her part in the upcoming eighth and final season of the show. In 2016, she landed a role in the X-Men film series, where she’s appeared as Jean Grey/ Phoenix ever since. She is expected to reprise the role in the upcoming Dark Phoenix, which many believe will be the final film in the long-running superhero series (Wikipedia).
After appearing as one of the leading characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, British actor John Boyega ostensibly shot to stardom overnight. He reprised his role as Finn — a Stormtrooper turned Rebel — in 2017’s The Last Jedi. He is expected to return in the upcoming Episode IX, which will be out later this year. In 2017, Boyega also appeared in the critically acclaimed film Detroit, which was directed by Katheryn Bigelow off of a script by Mark Boal (Wikipedia). So are you a fan of Boyega?
Kate Beckinsale is best known for playing the leading character of Selene in the Underworld film series. She appeared as the headstrong vampire hunter all the way from the 2003 film to 2016’s Underworld: Blood Wars. During that time, Beckinsale also appeared in her fair share of other action movies, including Total Recall, Contraband, and Whiteout. This year, she’s expected to play one of the leads in the upcoming TV series The Widow. She’s also provided her voice for The Elder Scrolls video game series (Wikipedia).
Michael Fassbender really began to take off in the early 2010s, where he appeared in the films Jane Eyre, A Dangerous Method, and Prometheus. The Irish actor often appears in dark and gritty films for which he has received much critical acclaim. However, many probably best know the actor thanks to his role in the X-Men film series, where he portrays a younger version of Magneto — a role he is expected to reprise in the upcoming Dark Phoenix (Wikipedia).
In 1979’s Alien, Sigourney Weaver played the leading character of Ellen Ripley — a part which was originally intended for a man. The film went on to spawn a successful franchise, which has included a number of sequels, spin-offs, and prequels. In the ‘80s, Weaver was also a part of the massively popular Ghostbuster film series, where she played Dana Barrett, a woman who is unwillingly being tormented by otherworldly beings. More recently, she appeared as a villain in the Marvel/ Netflix series The Defenders (Wikipedia).
Equally known for his blockbuster appearances as he is for his dramatic work, many first took note of Aaron Taylor-Johnson when he appeared as the leading character in 2014’s Godzilla. The following year, Taylor-Johnson joined the MCU, playing Quicksilver in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron. But the British-born actor has also achieved critical acclaim in the lesser-known movies, such as Nowhere Boy and Nocturnal Animals (Wikipedia). So are you a fan of any of these movies?
After making her film debut in 1994’s Leon: The Professional, Natalie Portman went on to join the Star Wars universe, where she first appeared as Padme Amidala in 1999’s The Phantom Menace. Since then, she has continued to appear in blockbuster hits, such as the Thor movies, as well as lesser-known critically acclaimed dramas, such as Closer and Jackie. Portman has been nominated for three Academy Awards to date, winning in 2011 for her performance in Black Swan, a psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky (Wikipedia).
Jamie Foxx has been working in the entertainment industry since the late 1980s, where he has worked as everything from a singer to a comedian, to an actor. Most probably know him for his work on the big screen, where he has earned critical acclaim in movies such as Ray and Django Unchained. Foxx has also appeared in his fair share of action blockbusters, such as Miami Vice, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Baby Driver. Last year, he appeared as Little John in the latest big screen adaptation of Robin Hood (Wikipedia).
Mary Elizabeth Winstead:
Mary Elizabeth Winstead rose to prominence after appearing in a string of horror films, including Final Destination 3, Black Christmas, and the horror TV series Wolf Lake. In 2012, she played Romona Flowers in the adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opposite Michael Cera before she returned to the thriller genre with movies such as 2011’s The Thing and 2016’s 10 Cloverfield Lane. This year, Winstead is set to star in both Gemini Man and The Parts You Lose (Wikipedia).