Awards Circuit’s Top 10 Breakthrough Performers of 2017

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2018 Spotlight Performers

Haley Lu Richardson (“Split,” “Columbus”)

Haley Lu Richardson had a good year in 2017. She started the year as a kidnapped teen in M. Night Shymalan’s “Split,” with last year’s Breakthrough performer Anya Taylor-Joy. She also received a Gotham nomination for Best Actress in Kogonada’s “Columbus.”

Even before that, she’s had strong performances in “The Edge of Seventeen” and a number of TV appearances. While it seems that Richardson came a long way in 2017, we feel she is an actress on the rise. It looks like 2018 will really be the year she breaks through, with three films on the way.

She is currently filming “Operation Finale,” where she stars with Oscar Isaac. And Richardson has two films in post-production. First is a period drama, “The Chaperone,” written by Julian Fellowes of “Downton Abbey.” That film also stars Miranda McGovern and Elizabeth McGovern. She also stars with Regina Hall in the upcoming, “Support the Girls.”

Haley Lu Richardson has caught our attention already, and we hope 2018 is her best year yet. (by Karen Peterson)

Ana de Armas (“Blade Runner 2049,” “Overdrive”)

Cuban-born Ana de Armas has recently been seen in smaller roles in “War Dogs” and “Hands of Stone,” opposite big-named stars like Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, and Robert De Niro, respectively. It was her turn as Joi, the virtual sentient love interest of Ryan Gosling in Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049,” though, where she first caught my eye. And how could she not? The gorgeous star has one of the most interesting roles to hit the big screen this year. But her performance shows a level of capability that is just scratching the surface, in my opinion, as there is likely much more to come from this up and coming ingenue.

In 2018, de Armas will star in “Three Seconds,” alongside Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen, Joel Kinnaman, and Common. While “Blade Runner 2049” has put de Armas in the Spotlight, we hope to see a larger role in Andrea Di Stefano’s film catapult her to our Breakthrough list this time next year. (by Mark Johnson)