The following list highlights the actors and actresses on television and on the big screen who really caught viewers’ attention throughout this year. They appear in no particular order:
1. Mackenzie Mauzy – Soap opera fans will be familiar with Mackenzie from her days on The Bold and the Beautiful, but it was her role in the short-lived, but popular ABC series Forever as well as her role as Rapunzel in the box office adaptation of the Broadway play Into the Woods. She will be next seen in the Lifetime movie Manson’s Lost Girls (working title) about the teenaged girls who fell under the spell of Charles Manson.
2. Taron Egerton – Taron got his big break in the box office film Kingsman: The Secret Service alongside Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson and he will be appearing in the sequel that is set to air in 2017. He will also be seen in the upcoming movies Legends with Tom Hardy and Eddie the Eagle with Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken. He will also lend his voice to the animated film Sing with Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey.
3. Constance Wu – She turned heads at the beginning of this year in her role of Jessica Huang on Fresh Off the Boat, the popular ABC comedy that focuses on a Taiwanese family making their way in 1990s America. She will also star in the low budget Kickstarter-based film Low Budget Ethnic Movie. Prior to Fresh Off the Boat, Constance appeared in episodes of One Life to Live, Torchwood and the online series Spooked.
4. Austin Stowell – He appeared in the final season of The Secret Life of the American Teenager before appearing in Dolphin Tale and its sequel. He also appeared in the made-for-TV movie A Way Back Home, the box office hit Whiplash and the new TNT drama Public Morals. But it was his role in Bridge of Spies, the much-buzzed about box office film that stars Tom Hanks. He has five new projects in the works for the next two years.
5. Melissa Benoist – Melissa first got TV viewers’ attention on the final two seasons of the FOX musicomedy Glee and she appeared in the box office films Whiplash alongside Miles Tiller and J.K. Simmons, The Longest Ride with Britt Roberson and Scott Eastwood and Danny Collins alongside Al Pacino, Jennifer Garner and Annette Bening. But it has been her turn as Kara Danvers in the new fall CBS series Supergirl that has put in her the spotlight.
6. Thomas Mann – Thomas has appeared in the box office films Project X, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Beautiful Creatures and It’s Kind of a Funny Story; but it was his role in the indie film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl that really turned heads. He has nearly a dozen new projects in the works, including Amityville: The Awakening and Kong: Skull Island.
7. Johanna Braddy – She has had quite a year appearing in the Lifetime drama UnReal and the buzzed about ABC drama Quantico, but she has been working in the industry for over a decade, appearing in episodes of The Riches, Lie to Me, Greek, Southland, CSI: Miami, Leverage, Hit the Floor and Necessary Roughness as well as a role in the box office films Easy A and Paranormal Activity 3.
8. Yaya DaCosta – She got her big break through America’s Next Top Model, but since appearing in that reality series, Yaya has appeared in All My Children, Ugly Betty, Army Wives, Body of Proof, House and Unforgettable. She then landed the lead role in the Lifetime made-for-TV movie Whitney, based on the life of the late, great singer. Now she has taken her recurring role of April Sexton from Chicago Fire into a lead role on the spin-off series Chicago Med.
9. Rhys Matthew Bond – The British born actor doesn’t have a long resume of TV or film roles, but he has made an impression with TV viewers appearing in the Good Witch series that is based on the long-running and extremely popular The Good Witch franchise of made-for-TV movies. He also appeared in the first original scripted drama Ties That Bind on the UP Channel; and he had a small role in the Lifetime made-for-TV movie The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story.
10. Alycia Debnam-Carey – This Australian beauty first got viewers’ attention as Lexa in the edgy, futuristic drama The 100 on The CW before landing a lead role in the AMC prequel series Fear the Walking Dead. She also appeared in the box office film Into the Storm alongside Sarah Wayne Callies and Richard Armitage. She will next be seen in the box office film Friend Request will William Moseley, Connor Paolo and Brit Morgan.
11. Scott Eastwood – Son of the great Clint Eastwood, Scott turned heads in The Longest Ride, the box office adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel. Prior to that he had small roles in several of his father’s films under the name Scott Reeves as well as appearing in the films The Perfect Wave and Fury. He also had a small role in the TV shows Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. He will also appear in the upcoming films Snowden and Suicide Squad.
12. Elizabeth Gillies – She appeared in the popular Nickelodeon series Victorious for four seasons, but it was her role of Gigi in the music-based FX comedy Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll alongside Denis Leary that has put her on the map. She also appeared in the box office film Vacation and the made-for-TV movie Killing Daddy.
13. Cody Christian – Cody first came to the attention of television viewers with his role of Mike Montgomery, the younger brother of Aria Montgomery, on Pretty Little Liars before moving on to his role of Theo Raeken in the latest season of Teen Wolf. He will next be seen in the box office movie Killing Animals that will also star James Franco.
14. Emma Ishta – Emma’s big break came in the form of her leading role in the new ABC Family drama Stitchers that has a very unusual premise: A young woman is recruited into a secret government agency to be “stitched” into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders. Prior to this role she appeared in one episode of both short-lived shows Black Box and Manhattan Love Story.
15. Luke Kleintank – Luke has appeared in the TV shows No Ordinary Family, The Young and the Restless, Gossip Girl, Bones, Pretty Little Liars and Person of Interest, but it is his role on the much-buzzed about online series The Man in the High Castle based on the acclaimed novel by Philip K. Dick. He also appeared in the family film Max alongside Robbie Amell, Thomas Haden Church and Lauren Graham.
16. Alexandra Park – The Elizabeth Hurley look-alike beauty from Australia who plays the former’s daughter in the controversial E! drama The Royals, has also appeared in the Aussie drama The Elephant Princess and the long-running Aussie soap opera Home and Away.
17. Bren Foster – The handsome Australian actor got his start on Home and Away and then eventually landed a role on the long running soap opera Days of Our Lives. Now he has a role on the TNT apocalyptic drama The Last Ship as Wolf Taylor, a new member of the team.
18. Priyanka Chopra – Priyanka may be a new face to the US audience, but she is considered the Beyonce of India. She is a beauty queen turned singer-actress, who is a huge Bollywood star. In fact, she is the first Bollywood female actress to land a leading role in a primetime American TV show, being the lead star of the new hit ABC drama Quantico.
Who are some of the new faces from this year who caught your attention either on television or in film? Please share.
TOMORROW: New Faces of 2016