For years, aspiring actresses seeking to make a career in Hollywood had to pick a lane. Alluring but virginal? You were an ingenue. Dark-haired and pouty? Hey there, femme fatale. Smart and spunky? Best friend material.Over 40? Mum. And if you were a person of colour, or identified as LGBTQ+, the options available were even more limited.
Its tempting to look at the current Hollywood landscape and sigh because not much has changed. The 92nd Academy Awards will mark yet another year with nearly all-white nominees in acting categories, and the 87th year without any women directors nominated. As of 2020, no Asian-American has ever been nominated for Best Actress, and no Latinx woman has ever won. If Cynthia Erivo takes home the gold for her performance as Harriet Tubman, she would be the second black woman ever (the first being Halle Berry in 2003) to win.
And yet, there are reasons to celebrate. In TV, the rise of streaming services has created a new star system of diverse young actors. Shows like
Pose (BBC Two) and Euphoria (Sky Atlantic) are providing a platform for trans and non-binary actors to tell their own stories, while others like Insecure (Amazon Prime), Killing Eve (BBC One), Shrill (BBC Three), and Fleabag (BBC One) are giving voice to a full spectrum of womens experiences. Even in film, traditionally a slower medium to adapt, things are changing. Despite the lack of recognition from the establishment, 2019 was one of the most dynamic and exciting years for women in film: Jennifer Lopez wrapped us in her fur; Awkwafina made us cry; Florence Pugh rehabilitated a 151-year-old literary character; Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever made it cool to be a smart girl; and Laura Dern made a divorce lawyer seem almost endearing. In 2020, five of the most anticipated action blockbusters of the year Cathy Yans Birds of Prey, Cate Shorelands Black Widow, Niki Caros Mulan, Chloe Zhaos The Eternals, and Patti Jenkins Wonder Woman: 1984 are directed by and starring women. No longer relegated to playing the damsel in distress, were seeing women kick ass both as heroes and villains.
These 29 performers may not have had the flashiest roles in 2019, but you can expect them to be on the frontlines as they blow up archaic expectations in 2020. Inge-
DaVine Joy Randolph
What youve seen her in: You may recognize Randolph from her memorable arc as Cookies (Taraji P. Henson) cellmate Poundcake on Empire. In 2019 , she gave a powerful and complex performance as Lady Reed alongside Eddie Murphy in Netflixs Dolemite Is My Name, and co-starred as Rhonda in On Becoming a God in Central Florida. What shes got coming up: Randolph will appear in Hulus High Fidelity series remake with Zoe Kravitz. On the big screen, shes starring in Miranda Julys Kajillionaire with Evan Rachel Wood and Gina Rodriguez, and Lee Daniels Billie Holiday biopic alongside Andra Day. Photo: JC Olivera/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: The Welsh-born actress starred in the 2019 creature-feature Crawl, as well as BBC’s His Dark Materials and Dracula.
What shes got coming up: Clark is going to have a busy 2020. In addition to playing the lead in A24s latest horror movie, Saint Maud, shes also been cast as Galadriel in the upcoming Lord of the Rings series, and will appear alongside Dev Patel in The Secret History of David Copperfield. Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage.
What youve seen her in: Vancouver-born Russell was the breakout star of Trey Edward Shults Waves, about a Miami family torn apart by grief and violence. What shes got coming up: Russell will star in Words on Bathroom Walls, about a teen dealing with schizophrenia, and Dr. Birds Advice for Sad Poets. Shes currently filming Escape Room 2 with Indya Moore and Logan Miller. Photo: Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic.
What youve seen her in: The former New York City club kid-turned photographer, artist, fashion designer, and muse made her acting debut in the Safdie brothers Uncut Gems. What shes got coming up: Fox will star in erotic drama PVT Chat as Scarlet, a San Francisco cam girl whos fixated upon by an internet gambler. Shes also written and directed a short film, Fantasy Girls, about child sex trafficking and kidnappings in Reno, which shes submitted to upcoming film festivals. Photo: Paul Archuleta/WireImage.
What youve seen her in: Qualley, the daughter of actress Andie MacDowell and former model Paul Qualley, starred in FXs Fosse/Verdon alongside Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell (for which she received an Emmy nomination), as well as Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood with Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie. But Qualley first stole my heart in 2017, when she starred in Maggie Betts Novitiate, about a young woman struggling with faith and Church reform in the early 1960s. What shes got coming up: Qualley will co-star with Sigourney Weaver in My Salinger Year, and is starting production on The Chain, about the drastic consequences of a young woman being attacked by a dog. Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Kicking ass as Maria Rambeau with Brie Larsons Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel.
What shes got coming up: Introducing Nomi, your new 007 in the 25th instalment of the James Bond Franchise, Cary Fukunagas No Time To Die . Photo: Dave Benett/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Franciosis breakout role was as Jon Snows mother, Lyanna Stark, in Game of Thrones. In 2019, she starred in Jennifer Kents brutal follow-up to The Babadook, The Nightingale, about a young widow seeking revenge in 19th century Australia. What shes got coming up: Franciosi has been cast in HBOs adaptation of Wally Lambs 1998 novel, I Know This Much Is True, and is in pre-production for a Nora Fingscheidt-directed film co-starring Sandra Bullock and Viola Davis. Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: A breakout star of Bong Joon-hos critically acclaimed class thriller Parasite, Park has been a mainstay of Korean cinema and TV for years. In 2015, she won a Best Supporting Actress nod from the Busan Film Critics Awards for her performance in The Silence. Other noteworthy credits include The Priests, The Throne, and Veterans. Shes also appeared on Korean TV shows Cinderella with Four Knights and A Beautiful Mind. What shes got coming up: In 2020, shell star in director Park Dae-mins crime thriller Special Praise. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Fans of Hulus Harlots (and if youre not you should be) may recognize Atim as Limehouse Nell. In 2018, she won a Laurence Olivier Award for her role as Marianne Laine in Conor McPherson’s Girl from the North Country musical. What shes got coming up: Atim will star as Mable in Barry Jenkins upcoming series, Underground Railroad. Photo: Dave Benett/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: A model and LGBTQ+ activist, Schafer made her acting debut in 2019 as Jules in HBOs Euphoria. As a trans woman, she worked with creator Sam Levinson to make sure her character was reflective of her own life experience, giving us one of the most powerful narrative arcs on TV today. What shes got coming up: Shell be reprising her role in Euphorias second season. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic.
What youve seen her in: Another breakout star of Euphoria, Demie also gave a devastating performance in Waves, as Alexis, girlfriend to Kelvin Harrison Jr.s character, Tyler. What shes got coming up: Demie will star alongside Maya Hawke and Jason Schwartzman in the Gia Coppola-directed Mainstream. Photo: Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic.
What youve seen her in: Bailey and her sister Chloe were discovered by Beyonce after posting covers of her songs to their YouTube channel. Signed to her label Parkwood Entertainment in 2015 Chloe x Halle opened for the singer on her Lemonade tour. What shes got coming up: Bailey has been cast as Ariel in Disneys live-action reboot of The Little Mermaid. Haters are not welcome to be part of that world. Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: The British model and actress made her film debut in Melina Metsoukas Queen & Slim in 2019 alongside Daniel Kaluuya. She also married longtime crush Joshua Jackson, and the two are reportedly expecting a baby together. What shes got coming up: Turner-Smith will star with Colin Farrell and Haley Lu Richardson in After Yang, and is currently filming Without Remorse, based on a Tom Clancy novel and starring Jamie Bell and Michael B. Jordan. Photo: Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic.
What youve seen her in: Feldstein gave a breakout performance in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising in 2016, followed by a tender turn as best friend Julie in Lady Bird. In 2019, she starred in Olivia Wildes directorial debut, Booksmart, alongside Kaitlyn Dever, and appeared in Taika Waititis vampire comedy series, What We Do in the Shadows. What shes got coming up: Feldstein will star as Johanna Morrigan in Coky Giedroycs adaptation of Caitlin Morans 2014 best-seller How To Build A Girl. One day, well see her and best friend Ben Platt lead Richard Linklaters Merrily We Roll Along, which will film over the next 20 years no, Im not kidding. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Morrone starred in Euphoria director Augustine Frizells 2018 film Never Goin Back, but her breakout role was as 17-year-old Mickey Peck in Annabelle Attanasios Mickey and the Bear. What shes got coming up: The 22-year-old has been cast in Amazons series adaptation of Daisy Jones & the Six alongside Riley Keough. Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Lourd made her film debut alongside mother Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. Shes been a Chanel on Scream Queens and is an American Horror Story staple. In 2019, played eccentric rich girl Gigi in Booksmart, and paid a beautiful tribute to her late mother in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, in which she reprised her role as Lieutenant Connix. What shes got coming up: Ryan Murphy was so impressed by Lourds performance in AHS: 1984 that he is writing a mini-series to showcase her talent. Its top secret but stay tuned! Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Mizuno starred alongside Oscar Isaac in 2014s Ex Machina, giving rise to this amazing moment. She also played Araminta Lee in Crazy Rich Asians and Dr. Azumi Fujita in Netflixs Maniac. What shes got coming up: Shell be playing Lily Chan in new Hulu series Devs, and has been cast in the Kaley Cuoco-created series Flight Attendant, which will premiere on HBO Max. (A UK release date has not been confirmed as of yet.) Photo: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic.
What youve seen her in: In 2017, 15-year-old Luna shared her story as a Latinx trans teen planning her coming of age in HBOs 15: A Quinceanera Story docu-series. What shes got coming up: Let Luna cast her spell on you as a member of director Zoe Lister-Jones remake of The Craft, co-starring Gideon Adlon, Michelle Monaghan, David Duchovny and Cailee Spaeny. Leon Bennett/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Moore dazzled as voguing superstar Angel in Pose, and appeared as Goddess in Melina Metsoukas directorial debut, Queen & Slim. What shes got coming up: Shes currently filming Escape Room 2 and will star in director Rachel Talalays A Babysitters Guide to Monster Hunting. Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Serratos is best known for her role as Rosita Espinosa in AMCs The Walking Dead. What shes got coming up: Following in the footsteps of none other than Jennifer Lopez, Serratos will headline Netflixs upcoming series Selena, about the life of Tejano singer Selena Quintanillo, set to premiere in 2020. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Dont let Pedrettis angelic features fool you shes not afraid of getting real dark, real fast as shes proved first with a role as Nell in The Haunting of Hill House, and then as the devious Love Quinn on the second season of You. What shes got coming up: Embrace the fear. Pedretti is set to star in The Haunting of Bly Manor, alongside her Hill House co-stars, and will be back to torture Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgely) in You season 3. Photo: Manny Carabel/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Guardiola showed off her singing chops as aspiring singer and disco superstar Mylene Cruz in Netflixs The Get Down. What shes got coming up: She currently stars as Addy Hanlon in USAs cheerleader drama Dare Me and will be co-starring with Leslie Bibb and Josh Duhamel in the Vicky Wright-directed The Lost Husband. Photo: Araya Diaz/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Though Liu has starred in 19 international and Chinese films, and appeared in six TV shows, shes still relatively unknown in the United States. Thats about to change. What shes got coming up: Liu will play the titular role in Disneys live-action reboot of Mulan, directed by Niki Caro and out March 27, 2020. Alexa, play Reflection! Photo: Visual China Group/Getty Images.
Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images.
Natasha Liu Bordizzo
What youve seen her in: The Australian actress of Chinese-Italian descent plays Helena Wu in Netflixs The Society. What shes got coming up: Bordizzo will be co-starring alongside fellow up-and-comer Sweeney in The Voyeurs. Season 2 of The Society is also forthcoming. Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage.
What youve seen her in: Englert blew me away this year with her performance in Them That Follow, about an evangelical community in the Ozarks that worship through serpent handling. What shes got coming up: Ironically, shes set to appear in more snake-related content with The Serpent, a serial killer thriller series co-produced by Netflix and BBC. Shes also been cast in a Ryan Murphy-produced, Ratched, a series tracking the origin story of Nurse Ratched from Ken Keseys One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images.
What youve seen them in: Best known for their role as Tabitha Foster on Netflixs Trinkets, Swindell identifies as non-binary and gender non-conforming. What they’ve got coming up: In 2020, you can catch Swindell in the sci-fi thriller Voyagers, alongside Colin Farrell and Lily-Rose Depp, and Abid Khans Granada Nights.
What youve seen her in: Harrison rose to fame in 2017 when her appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon mocking Donald Trumps ban on trans people serving in the military went viral. The comedian who came out as trans in college also starred as Ruthie in Shrill, a role that she will reprise in the shows second season. What shes got coming up: Harrison has been tapped to lead Nicole Beckwiths Togetherish about a young woman hired to as a surrogate for a rich app designer, played by Ed Helms. hoto: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: Barrera started her career acting in Mexican telenovelas before she was cast as Lyn in Starzs Vida. What shes got coming up: In the Heights hive, meet your new Vanessa. Barrera will be starring as Usnavis (Anthony Ramos) love interest in the new movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Mirandas musical, directed by John Chu. Michael Tullberg/Getty Images.
What youve seen her in: You havent! Though Zegler has starred in multiple high school and regional theatre productions, the New Jersey teen is a newcomer to film. Still, you may have caught her viral cover of Shallow, which made the rounds on Twitter in 2018. What shes got coming up: Zegler will make her film debut as Maria in Steven Spielbergs West Side Story remake. She applied for the role after seeing a casting call on Twitter for Latinx actors (she is of Polish and Columbian descent) and was chosen from 30,000 applicants. Photo: James Devaney/GC Images.
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