2017 in film has already produced some standout breakthrough performances by up-and-coming and well-known actors:
Zoey Deutch – “Before I Fall”
Deutch, the daughter of Lea Thompson, elevates the script of this teen novel turned film, making nearly every scene of this YA “Groundhog Day” tale surprisingly sophisticated and believable.
Daniel Kaluuya – “Get Out”
Writer/director Jordan Peele’s complex thriller features a commanding lead performance by Kaluuya. Next-up: roles in Marvel’s “Black Panther” and the drama “Widows” opposite Liam Neeson and Viola Davis.
Jason Mantzoukas – “The House”
This longtime supporting comic actor gets just as much screen time as Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler in the generally entertaining casino comedy.
Kate Mara and Common – “Megan Leavey”
Mara (from “House of Cards” and “Fantastic Four”) shines in a firm lead role. Oscar-winning music artist Common solidifies his stance as a legitimate, dramatic actor with his supporting turn as Leavey’s officer.
Kumail Nanjiani – “The Big Sick”
This sweet and authentic romantic dramedy is based on Nanjiani’s life. He pours everything into it.
Demetrius Shipp, Jr. – “All Eyez on Me”
The Tupac Shakur biopic was largely uneven, but Shipp, Jr., in his first role ever, kept my interest.
Amandla Stenberg – “Everything, Everything”
She played Rue in “The Hunger Games”. As Maddy, a teen who can’t leave her home ever due to illness, in this teen novel adaptation, she’s quite engaging.