Jessica Chastain, The Help, The Debt, Take Shelter and Tree of Life
Hollywood usually relies on star power to bring in the big bucks, but every now and again we are able to sing the praises of an unknown actor who commands a film so naturally you wonder why they weren't "discovered" sooner. Sharing the screen with Brad Pitt no less in Terrence Malik's Tree of Life, Chastain stole the film with an engrossing and nearly silent performance as the ethereal, pure mother of Pitt's children that left us wondering what she would do next. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too long to find out: Chastain's appeared in six films this year, playing everything from a Southern sexpot in The Help to an Israeli secret agent in The Debt. In the latter film, she crackles in her scenes as the younger version of Helen Mirren. Like the Dame, we believe Chastain will have a long career.