Everyone flipped for Emily Blunt when she played Meryl Streep’s nasty anorexic assistant in The Devil Wears Prada, but we’re guessing it’s going to be 2009 that bumps Ms. Blunt to Anne Hathaway’s level. First, there’s the excellent Sundance hit Sunshine Cleaning that co-stars critics’ darling Amy Adams. The women play sisters who, through a series of twists and unfortunate turns, start a crime scene clean-up service. Then she’s got four more, including the interesting-sounding The Wolf Man, starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, about those everlastingly fascinating creatures: vampires and werewolves. Move over, Twilight!
Finally, there’s Zoe Saldana. We’ve had our eye on her since way back in 2000 with the current Oxygen favorite Center Stage. Now, Ms. Saldana has not one but two surefire blockbusters in her 2009 future: J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek, where she’ll play Lt. Nyota Uhura, and James Cameron’s froth-at-the-mouth-in-anticipation Avatar—his first feature-length since Titanic (Aquaman doesn’t count), co-starring Sigourney Weaver, filmed in 3-D and IMAX and other stuff we’re sure we just haven’t heard about yet and is sure to blow all of our collective minds.
AND NOW, the men! There’s another Avatar star we believe will absolutely explode this year: Australian hottie Sam Worthington. The 32-year-old, who has a jawline that should shame Pierce Brosnan, not only appears to have top billing with Ms. Weaver on Avatar, he’s up there with Christian Bale in Terminator: Salvation (do you think Mr. Cameron made the recommendation?), a movie which—judging from the previews—will make our brain go boom and garner not a cent less than a kabillion dollars. In 2010, you can look forward to the mysteriously cast (he’s the only one listed) Clash of the Titans.
And how about Matthew Goode? We’ve been a little (or a lot) in love with this guy since he played secret agent man to Mandy Moore’s first daughter in 2004’s Chasing Liberty. (Yes, you read that sentence correctly.) He turned in a small but respectable performance in Imagine Me & You and got noticed as the tennis-playing brother in Match Point. We thought last year was going to be his year, thanks to his excellent reviews as the star of Brideshead Revisited. But it looks like he’ll need Zak Snyder’s Watchmen (for all you fanboys, Mr. Goode plays Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias), plus A Single Man, co-starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, to break him out. We’re not worried.
Now, all you Friday Night Lights fans (and that should be all of you—it’s back on the air this week!) know Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins, bad boy with a heart of gold who might be the hottest guy ever to play a high-school football player on network television. But Mr. Kitsch also has an opportunity to get known outside of Texas territory with a part in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, another movie that will make so much money it makes our head hurt. (He’s in the trailer, wielding a weapon and a purple shirt.) Forget Robert Pattinson … teen girls are going to go ballistic. And besides Wolverine co-stars Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber, there’s also Ryan Reynolds—another guy we expect to top the A-list this year. Mr. Reynolds has quietly been hanging around, growing on us like a lovely fungus, sealing the deal with last year’s Definitely, Maybe. Then he went off and married Scarlett Johansson! But we have a feeling that he’s not going to be known as Mrs. ScaJo anytime soon. He plays opposite Julia Roberts in that weird when-when-will-you-be-released film Fireflies in the Garden, due out sometime. Plus, he’s got the hotly anticipated 1987-era amusement park comedy Adventureland with Twilight’s Kristen Stewart and The Squid and the Whale’s Jesse Eisenberg; a big summer romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock called The Proposal; and Paper Man, with Lisa Kudrow and Jeff Daniels. Nota bene: He looks great in a suit!
Meanwhile, Paul Schneider, another one we’ve been eyeing thanks to last year’s Lars and the Real Girl and the awesome The Assassination of Jesse James, will show up in the Sam Mendes–directed/Dave Eggers–scripted Away We Go, co-starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, about a couple who travels around the United States in order to find a good place to start their family. He will also appear in Jane Campion’s latest, Bright Star, about the poet John Keats, which we expect to make him a bright star himself. His looks are Rudd-like, which is only a good thing.
Lastly, we gotta say that while we know he’s already pretty famous, we truly expect Jason Bateman to be at the tippy-top of the A-list, even beyond Mr. Reynolds, this year. Mr. Bateman, we’ve loved you since Little House! And, with State of Play, co-starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, plus the Mike Judge movie and the who-knows status of the Arrested Development movie this year, we really think this could be it for you. One things for sure: It’s Teen Wolf Too no more!