Best Of 2022: Breakthrough Performer in Film

This is a tough category for me. It’s about a couple of things. For me, it means I didn’t know who this person was prior to 2022, and I believe the majority of people didn’t, or that they got a giant career boost in 2022.So, someone on here might have been around for a few years, and have some credits, but 2022 was their year. I’m also not ranking them by performance, but rather the likelihood that they’ll still be a prominent name ten years from now. kind of like also a ‘Star of Tomorrow” award. If that makes sense. I debated a lot about the 10th spot. Lots of names I left off. I fully realize more than 10 people potentially broke through this year.

1) Anna Diop (Nanny)

i ultimately went with Anna, because she anchored her own film. It’s true that not a lot of people saw Nanny, but for those who did, it’s obvious that Anna is someone with the chops to really make a difference in the future. She could really give some great performances if they come her way.

9) Walker Scobell (The Adam Project/ Secret headquarters)

Every once in a while, a child actor comes around with a lot of personality, and you feel like they’ll be cast in a bunch of other things. He’s not the only one. this could have gone to Mason Thames from the Black Phone or even Marlowe Barkley from slumberland and Spirited. But there’s something about giving Scobell these two leads that really made me think Hollywood might be onto casting him in future projects.

8) Mia Isaac (Not OK/Don’t Let Me Go)

Isaac had two opportunities this year to break your heart, and for those of us with streaming subscriptions, it’s likely she did. I’m not sure where she’ll pop up again, but Hollywood would be crazy not to cast her again. That would definitely be not OK.

7) Georgina Campbell (barbarian)

I think Campbell proved she could anchor a movie. She’s the lead of one of the breakout horror titles of the year, and even if that means she’s stuck being the next scream queen, at least she’s getting cast.

6) Cooper Rafe (Cha Cha Real Smooth)

Technically, his second film, but this one was the film that changed everything for him. Cha Cha was a Sundance sensation that Apple has tried to turn into an Oscar hopeful, and I’ve still seen popping up on Top 10 lists, or at least in honorable mentions. And he wrote, directed, and starred. That’s worth mentioning, I think. Maybe the next Ed Burns?

5) Gabriel LaBelle (The Fablemans)

Technically, he does share this role, but the film truly takes off once he’s in it. labelle is getting notice from critics, and is still a dark horse in the Oscar race this year. I think directors have taken note, possibly even Spielberg who could always cast him again in a future project.

4) Amber Midthunder (Prey)T

Prey was a big surprise for many, and a lot of that had to do with the terrific performance from Midthunder, who shows her acting abilities, as well as her convincing fighting prowess. And being in a field where there aren’t enough well known indigenous actresses, Midthunder could really breakout in a very special way.

3) Mia goth (X/Pearl)

Yes, her career was around before these films, but she really took off this year after starring in X, in a dual role. Her portrayal of Pearl has a lot of people praying for a surprise Oscar nomination (it won’t happen), but the fact that people are talking is a good thing. Goth also got writing and producing credits for pearl, and there’s a third film in that trilogy this year.

2) Stephanie Tzu (Everything Everywhere All At once)

My runner up for this gave one hell of a performance, now has a devoted army of EEAAO fans, and many critics awards already. She’s arrived. Will she get an Oscar nomination? I’m a bit less certain about that, which is why my number one choice went to…

1) Austin Butler (Elvis)

A white guy. but seriously, it’s hard to say that Butler, who had the opportunity to anchor a 100M+ grossing film, play an icon, get a Golden Globe nomination, host Saturday night Live, get a Critics Choice nomination, and be considered by everyone to be a lock for an Oscar nomination somehow didn’t just win 2022. Was this his first role? No. But most people didn’t know who he was until he became the king Of Rock And Roll.

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