Although watching the hullabaloo before Sunday night’s Golden Globes ceremony was more fun than usual—we loved those wild-card moments when Alec Baldwin harassed the tiny Ryan Seacrest about pictures of him “fondling” some woman, and when Mark Wahlberg threw Jeremy “I swear I was mercury-poisoned” Piven under the bus—this year, more than ever, the red carpet proved to us just how in need we are of a new batch of celebrities.
Please let us explain! We were totally happy to see glam favorites like Kate Winslet, Penélope Cruz and—oh-my-goodness-there-you-are!—Sandra Bullock out there doing their thing, and we’ve made peace with the fact that we will never stop gawking at Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie smooching in public or Tom Cruise flashing those big-ass teeth. It’s just that when we find ourselves groaning (again) at the sight of Renée Zellweger, or covering our eyes at Drew Barrymore’s overdone bedhead, or squinting at the small print on our TV set to see just which Jonas brother is which … we feel like Huey Lewis. But instead of wanting a new drug, what we really, really want are some new stars.
Which is not to say that there weren’t a few moments of was-that-just-fresh-air-I-felt during Sunday’s telecast. Olivia Wilde, from House, strode onto that carpet in a strapless frothy lavender number and stood there unfurled in all her insanely beautiful glory as if to say, That’s right … here I am, bitches! Ms. Wilde has two movies coming out this year—a thriller called In NorthWood, and the Harold Ramis comedy The Year One, co-starring Michael Cera and Jack Black, plus—shriek!—she stars in 2011’s TRON 2.0. Look out, Angelina, there’s another (younger) you on the scene! Similarly, we enjoyed seeing the straight-up-hot Megan Fox (another contender for Angelina’s badass-sexpot niche), who has four movies scheduled in ’09, including the next Transformers and Juno it girl Diablo Cody’s sophomore effort, Jennifer’s Body, which co-stars another gal we could stand to see more of, Amanda Seyfried. She was a game performer in Mamma Mia! (we’re guessing there was a lot of ouzo ingestion on that set), and she’s got the return of HBO’s Big Love this month, plus the Lasse Halström–Nicholas Sparks teaming (uh-oh) for Dear John, scheduled to come out sometime this year. But we need, nay, we demand, more! After some serious soul- (and IMDB-) searching, we have some predictions and a few wishes for who else might become household names this year.
Let’s start with the ladies. Rebecca Hall had herself quite a 2008. Not only did she manage to give Scarlett Johansson some serious onscreen competition in Woody Allen’s (Golden Globe–winning!) Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but she showed up in another awards contender, Frost/Nixon. Currently, Ms. Hall is performing in the Sam Mendes–directed Chekhov-as-done-by-Stoppard play The Cherry Orchard at BAM, and you can look forward to seeing her in four rather awesome-sounding films this year, including Anand Tucker’s Nineteen Eighty-Three, a yet-untitled Nicole Holofcener (!) film co-starring Catherine Keener and Amanda Peet (seriously, can we get in line now?), and Dorian Gray, with Colin Firth and Ben Chaplin. Are those Cate Blanchett’s footprints she’s stepping into? We think so!
Oh-Eight was good to Mila Kunis as well. This chick has been around forever (she played baby Gia to Angelina’s grown-up one in 1998’s Gia), quietly being funny and hot in That ’70s Show, and voicing Meg on Family Guy. But last year’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall finally pushed her to the front of the pack, where she trampled all over Kristen Bell. Soon, we’ll see her co-starring with Jason Bateman (more on him later) and Ben Affleck in Mike Judge’s latest, Extract, and we can look forward to her sharing some screen time with Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman in next year’s The Book of Eli. Speaking of footsteps, are those Cameron Diaz’s?
Next! Get ready to learn how to pronounce Mia Wasikowska’s name. This young, rather ethereal-looking beauty (born in 1990! Ugh!) had a small role in Edward Zwick’s Defiance, and played the troubled teen Sophie on HBO’s In Treatment. But she made headlines when she snagged the coveted part of Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, due out in 2010, with a supporting cast of Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Sheen and Alan Rickman. This year, she’s set to play pilot Elinor Smith in Mira Nair’s Amelia, currently scheduled for a fall release, with Hilary Swank playing the doomed Earhart, and co-starring Ewan McGregor and Richard Gere.
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!
But then there’s our wish list, those who should be busting out but might need another year or two to grow. We’re ready for raven-haired cutie Ginnifer Goodwin to be known for something besides being the adorable (as opposed to bitchy or saintly) wife on Big Love. Will He’s Just Not That Into You do the trick? Or maybe A Single Man? Let’s hope so. Ditto for Michelle Monaghan, who we in no way blame for her involvement in Made of Honor. After all, we saw her in the yet-to-be-bought Trucker, and we know what she can do. We’re rooting for you, lady!
Now, we happened to be one of the 11 people who saw Viggo Mortensen’s holiday Holocaust movie Good (and, for the record, we thought it was great), and so we’d like to put Jason Isaacs on our wish list, too. Someone give this man a leading role! He plays the evil Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, and we say he’s ready! Finally, can anyone please rescue Barry Pepper from whatever drove him to appear in Seven Pounds? Remember how good he was in The 25th Hour? Spike? Mr. Norton? Are you listening?
We hope. So in terms of next year: Pepper, get a tux. Ms. Hall, plan on showing up—we don’t care what you’re starring in at the Old Vic. And Renée? No offense, but please stay home.