Casting an unknown has always been a risk. Movie stars may cost big bucks, but they deliver on opening weekend. Yet, some of Hollywood’s best stories come from discovering a star in the most unlikely of places. There are plenty of “star is born” moments that pave the star-soaked sidewalks of Hollywood. One of the most recent examples comes out this week. While “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” has had a tough time with critics, one thing is undeniable. Newcomer Joe Alwyn is the real deal. In honor of his star-making turn, we wanted to countdown the 10 best debut performances in Hollywood’s illustrious history. Many of them went on to Oscar nominations and even wins.
Yes, some of the people on this list have had TV performances before their film career. However, we will still consider them for this list based on their TV work not being notable and their film debut essentially acting as their introduction to an audience at large. Believe it or not, people don’t cast those who have never acted in any capacity that often.
Click through the gallery and feel free to comment with your favorites:
10. Kevin Kline as Nathan in “Sophie’s Choice” (1982)
It’s hard to act against Meryl Streep at her peak. People have a hard enough time keeping up with her at her low points. Still, one can see the raw talent lying within Kevin Kline in his first film role in “Sophie’s Choice.” Nathan is a damaged soul who takes in Holocaust survivor Sophie only to abuse her throughout their fraught relationship. Kline manages to make Nathan appealing and intoxicating, oftentimes in the same sentence. His effervescent personality and extroverted nature draw you in. It makes it so easy to see how one can get sucked into his web. However, at the drop of the hat, you see that what makes Nathan so appealing also makes him a monster. Kline knows how to turn a scene quickly without giving the audience whiplash. His ability to read and control a scene in future projects originated here.