Back to 2011 Breakout Stars
2. Jessica Chastain
2011 key roles: 'The Tree of Life,' 'The Help,' 'The Debt,' 'Take Shelter,' 'Texas Killing Fields,' 'Coriolanus'
If you didn't see Jessica Chastain onscreen in some capacity this year, you clearly didn't spend very much time at the movies. Whether at the art house ('Tree of Life' and 'Take Shelter') or in the mainstream ('The Help,' 'The Debt'), Chastain was an ubiquitous presence in 2011, appearing in six films -- half of which could find her in competition for an Academy Award. (Despite lauded work in 'The Tree of Life' and 'Take Shelter,' don't be surprised when Chastain is chosen for her funny and surprising performance in 'The Help.') With a roster of high-profile films on the horizon for 2012 and beyond -- including 'Horizons' with Tom Cruise; nyuck nyuck -- expect Chastain to remain one of the most sought-after leading ladies for the foreseeable future.
Upcoming projects: 'Wettest County,' with Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman; an untitled Terrence Malick project with Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem; 'Horizons' opposite Tom Cruise; 'Mama,' a horror film from producer Guillermo del Toro.