14 Up-And-Coming Actors Who Officially Arrived In 2022
The year 2022 was a very rich one when it came to discovering new stars. Whether in fantasy or biopic, sweeping drama or intimate comedy, the year marked a key moment in the careers of some of the industry’s most promising performers. Many of these individuals had fine careers before this year, of course, but very often they managed to fly under the radar, waiting for the one big role that would not only give them a chance to flex their acting muscles but also reach a wider audience.
Fortunately for them, and for those sitting in the audience, many got just what they wanted, heralding a bright new future for their careers.
- 1362 VOTESPhoto: Wednesday / Netflix
Even before her acclaimed turn as Wednesday in the Netflix series of the same name, Jenna Ortega was a familiar face to many. In addition to playing a younger version of Jane in the hit series Jane the Virgin, she appeared in a number of other well-regarded roles, particularly in the teen drama film The Fallout. In the film, the actress belies her youth by drawing out the hidden depths of her character.
Thus, it’s not surprising to find her achieving even greater success in 2022, catapulting into the realm of true stardom with appearances in two major projects: the fifth entry in the Scream franchise and the Netflix series Wednesday. She has received particular acclaim for the latter role. She manages to capture so much of what makes Wednesday one of the most beloved members of the Addams family, managing to be incredibly charismatic yet sharply dark and sinister at the same time.
- 2193 VOTES
Joseph QuinnPhoto: Stranger Things / Netflix
Netflix’s Stranger Things is one of the steamer’s true blockbusters, and it has done a great deal to elevate the stardoms of its various actors. The most recent of these is, of course, Joseph Quinn, who stole the hearts of many viewers with his performance as Eddie Munson, the irreverent and rebellious young man whose fate becomes intertwined with the already-established main characters. As the season progressed, he slowly revealed true depths to his bravery, ultimately sacrificing himself, breaking hearts everywhere.
There’s no doubt Stranger Things was Quinn’s true breakout role. However, he had appeared on television before in a number of small parts. Among other things, he had a small (but notable) appearance as Tsarevich Pavel in the HBO production Catherine the Great, in which he starred with Helen Mirren (who played Catherine).
- 3156 VOTES
Milly AlcockPhoto: House of the Dragon / HBO
Milly Alcock is one of the true success stories of 2022. Much of this is due to her magnificent performance in HBO’s House of the Dragon, where she plays the younger version of Rhaenyra. Prior to this, she was best known for her role in the series Upright, in which she portrayed a young runaway, Meg, who hitchhikes across Australia.
While she achieved critical acclaim as Meg, her role in one of HBO’s flagship series brought her to the attention of a truly international audience. She gave viewers a young princess struggling to fulfill her duties to her father, even as she charts her own path. Sometimes petulant and proud, Alcock managed to embody all of the contradictions inherent in the Targaryens. While she has now been replaced by Emma D’Arcy, it’s clear she has a very promising future ahead of her.
- 4168 VOTESPhoto: Prey / Hulu
It takes a rare talent to inject new life into a well-worn franchise, yet this is precisely what Amber Midthunder manages to do with Prey, the 2022 installment in the long-running Predator series. In large part the film’s very warm critical praise stems from Midthunder’s performance as Naru, the young Native American woman who is the film’s hero. She manages to partake in the long tradition of tough sci-fi female heroes – women like Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley – while also leaving her own mark.
Of course, Midthunder is no stranger to Hollywood, since she has been acting since she was a child. Prior to her big break, she was best known for playing the character of Kerry Loudermilk in the FX series Loudermilk. With her star turn in Prey, she is almost certain to become one of her generation’s foremost action stars.
- 5206 VOTESPhoto: Elvis / Warner Bros
Austin Butler exploded onto the 2022 scene with his portrayal of Elvis in the film of the same name, directed by the Australian auteur Baz Lurhman. With his somewhat pouty good looks and his soulful eyes, Butler brought out some of the hidden depths of this most beloved and popular of 20th century music stars. His performance achieved widespread praise from various critics, and it even gained significant praise from Elvis’s own family.
Of course, Austin was no stranger to Hollywood. Prior to appearing in Elvis, he had most notably appeared in the fantasy series The Shannara Chronicles, based on the enormously successful series of novels by Terry Brooks. He played the character of Wil Ohmsford, a traditional young epic hero who endures heartbreak and triumph as he sets out on an extraordinary journey to help save the world.
- 6171 VOTES
Glen PowellPhoto: Top Gun: Maverick / Paramount Pictures
Glen Powell has had a successful career in a number of Hollywood productions. Of particular note was his appearance in the Ryan Murphy series Scream Queens, where he was pitch-perfect as the annoying and hyperbolically “dude” (and aptly named) Chad Radwell.
2022, however, marked a huge step forward for the young actor, when he was cast in Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel to 1986 Top Gun. Powell plays Lt. Jake "Hangman" Seresin, a young man as full of confidence as Maverick himself. Powell brings an undeniable charisma to the role, and his radiant smile is undeniably a key part of why so many critics loved his performance.
In addition to his big break in this role, Powell has also appeared in several other high-profile projects, including the war film Devotion and the Richard Linklater-directed science fiction adventure Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood.