A Brief History
On this day, July 25, 2014, Universal Pictures releases Lucy in theaters in the United States of America. The film stars 29-year-old superstar Scarlett Johansson in the titular role. Here is the first edition of what could be an annual list of the current hottest young actresses gracing big and small screens alike. For the purpose of this list, by “young”, I am including women who portrayed girls. Also, as a 34-year-old myself, anyone who is younger than I am is considered “young” by me! Moreover, by “hottest”, I do not necessarily mean “most attractive”. Yes, these are all pretty girls and women, but I am using the term in the context of being “on fire” with their phenomenal performances of the past year. Finally, in order to make this list, the actresses had to have a significant performance as a main character in a film, video game, or television show in 2012 and/or 2013.
I have also noticed a number of other impressive actresses over the past year that necessity left off the list due to space or who have not quite entered the mainstream in the same way as those on the list. Nevertheless, these “honorable mentions” still merit a nod as “up and comers”. Australian actress Kelly Paterniniti (born 6 December 1987) helped make Inhuman Resources (2012) an even better movie than it already was, just as English actress Nicola Posener (18 October 1987) did similarly for Axed (2012). The adorable Candace Bailey (born 20 May 1982), who had small roles in The Sopranos (1999) and Jericho (2006-2008), was also worthy of consideration; however, she is best known as a co-host of the television program Attack of the Show! (2011-2013) rather than for any particular acting roles. Finally, former professional mixed-martial artist Gina Joy Carano (born 16 April 1982) has really just begun her acting career with performances in Haywire (2012) and the incredibly successful Fast & Furious 6 (2013). As such, her acting career is just starting to take off.
So, who then are the top eleven hottest young actresses of the past year? Well, the first two entries are ties, because the respective actresses under consideration are notable for strikingly similar roles. To determine the top eight, I based the rankings on numbers of major award nominations.
11. Tie: Ashley Suzanne Johnson and Courtnee Alyssa Draper
In eleventh place, we have a tie! I honestly could not choose between these two women. Both are most notable for voice acting and/or performance capture work in what are already being hailed as 2013’s best video games. Their characters are not the usual mere side-kicks either. They have already been made into action figures and statues and arguably overshadow the main playable characters in their respective games. They are: Ashley Suzanne Johnson (born 9 August 1983) is an American actress, singer, and voice actress best known for her role as 14-year-old Ellie inThe Last of Us (2013) and Courtnee Alyssa Draper (born 24 April 1985) is an American actress best known as the voice of Elizabeth in the video game BioShock Infinite (2013). Her performance of “Will the Circle be Unbroken?” during the game is absolutely masterful. Because they are so closely connected to specific breakthrough roles in a specific media portraying relatively similar aged characters that serve a sort of daughter role to the main playable character, it was simply impossible to rank one over the other in a justifiable manner.
On one final note, I also considered including actress Ellen Philpotts-Page (born 21 February 1987) on this list. As with the above two actresses, she has an upcoming appearance in Beyond Two Souls (2013), but that game has not yet been released. Moreover, most of her major award nominations were for performances that occurred before 2012. Depending on the reception of Beyond Two Souls as well as in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) as Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat), she could appear on next year’s version of this list. On a somewhat related note, there has been controversy over Johnson’s portrayal of Ellie in The Last of Us more than just closely resembling Ellen Page. (See here for more information on this controversy).
10. Tie: Ksenia Solo and Allison Glenn Scagliotti
Solo (born 8 October 1987) is a Latvian-born Canadian actress best known for her role as Kenzi on Lost Girl (2010-present). Kenzi is a Succubus’s best friend and sidekick. Her character serves as the show’s comic relief. Indeed, both Solo and Scagliotti (born 21 September 1990) are notable for their bubbly personalities. Scagliotti is an American actress best known for her role as Claudia Donovan on the SyFy television series Warehouse 13 (2009-present). Scagliotti has also appeared in such other fine programming as Bones (2013) and Person of Interest (2013). As hinted about in the entry on Solo, both Scagliotti and Solo play similar side-kick, eccentric roles on their respective shows. Yet, although Solo is older and has been active longer than Scagliotti, the younger actress has appeared in more major roles (twenty-nine versus twenty-three), although honestly the ranking for ninth and eighth on this list are debatable. With that said, I apologize for having two ties in a row, but I doubt many would complain about honoring MORE beautiful and talented young women!
9. Kacey Rohl
Rohl (born 6 August 1991) is a Canadian film and television actress best known for her main recurring role as Abigail Hobbs, daughter of serial killer Garrett Jacob Hobbs, in the hit series Hannibal (2013). She had previously performed in memorable roles in other outstanding television series including V (2010), Caprica (2010), Fringe (2010), R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour (2011), The Killing (2011-2012), and Supernatural (2012). According to an interview at “Kacey Rohl Q&A“, she respects “a ton of different actors for many different reasons, in terms of humanitarian stuff I think what Angelina Jolie does is amazing, that she can balance all that. In terms of careers all the Kates: Cate Blanchette, Kate Winslet, also Jodie Foster – all these really strong talented women that own all their feelings – I like those ladies the best.” Oh, and she can even play the ukulele!
8. Gemma Christina Arterton
Arterton (born 2 February 1986) is an English actress best known for her roles in St. Trinian’s (2007), Quantum of Solace (2008), St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold (2009), Clash of the Titans (2010), The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2010), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013). Yes, she has been in that many absolutely kick-ass films of the past few years playing strong and intelligent characters. She has either been nominated for or won at least eight major awards for these and other notable roles. The icing on the cake is that you can even own your own doll of Arterton as Io in Clash of the Titans as seen at Entertainment Earth for just over $100!
7. Summer Lyn Glau
Glau (born 24 July 1981) is an American actress best known for playing River Tam in Firefly (2002-2003) and Serenity (2005), as well as Cameron in Terminator: Why The Heck Did They Cancel It Chronicles?, er, excuse me, I mean, The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009). She additionally played memorable roles on Dollhouse (2009-2010), The Cape (2011), Hawaii Five-O (2013), and Arrow (2013-2014). For these roles, she has received nine major award nominations, of which she won three. In addition to her good looks and impressive acting chops, she is also classically trained as a ballet dancer and studied tango and flamenco.
6. Kathryn Felicia Day
Day (born 28 June 1979), the eldest on the list, is an American actress and writer who currently has a recurring role as Charlie on Supernatural (2012-present). She also appeared in two memorable episodes of Dollhouse (2009). Furthermore, she worked as a writer and co-producer for Dragon Age: Redemption (2011) and provided voice over for the character named Tallis in the video game Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assasin (2011). She has been nominated for eleven notable awards and won seven of these, mostly for her writing and acting in the hit web series The Guild (2007-2013). As the awards for writing suggest, she is more than just an actress. In fact, she is something of a modern Renaissance woman, having been a National Merit Scholar (1995), valedictorian of her class, and an accomplished enough violinist to be accepted to the Juilliard School of Music. She ultimately chose to instead attend the University of Texas at Austin on a full scholarship in violin performance, double majoring in mathematics and music performance.
5. Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Winstead (born 28 November 1984) is another multitalented American actress. She studied dance in a Joffrey Ballet summer program in Chicago, Illinois and appeared in local ballet productions. She was also a member of the International Children’s Choir as a child and became a recording artist as an adult with an album scheduled for release in August 2013. Nevertheless, she is best known for her scream queen roles in the horror films The Ring Two (2005), Final Destination 3 (2006), Black Christmas (2006), Death Proof (2007), The Thing (2011), and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012). She has also branched out to other genres, including as John McClane’s daughter Lucy in Live Free or Die Hard(2007) and A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), as well as in the role of Ramona Flowers in the comic-to-film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World(2010). She has won three of the twelve major awards that she has been nominated for since 2000.
4. Chloë Grace Moretz
Moretz (born 10 February 1997) is an American actress who has appeared in such must-see films as The Amityville Horror (2005), Wicked Little Things (2006), Hallowed Ground (2007), Kick-Ass (2010), Let Me In (2010), and Dark Shadows (2012). She will appear in title role of the upcoming 2013 remake of the 1976 film Carrie as well as in Kick-Ass 2 just two months later. In an interview at ComicBookMovie.com, she said of her controversial role as profanity spouting ultraviolent superhero, “I think you saw Mindy two times in the whole story. But in this movie, you see way more of Mindy than you do of Hit-Girl. You see this young girl struggling with who she is. In the last film, I only cussed six times in the movie – I counted! – but each time was really pivotal and it really meant something. And in this film it’s the same – it’s not like she just drops it all the time because she’s older. She only uses it when she’s Hit-Girl. She doesn’t use it when she’s Mindy.” Moretz’s other activities include such hobbies as skiing, voice acting in video games, and appearance in music videos. She has received at least twenty-six major award nominations for her various roles and has already won eleven of these.
3. Emily Jean “Emma” Stone
Stone (born 6 November 1988) is an American actress best known for her roles in the movies Zombieland (2009) and as Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). She has also appeared on television programs from Robot Chicken (2011) to Saturday Night Live (2011). From 2008 through 2013, she has received nominations for at least an astonishing forty major awards and has won at least fourteen of these awards! In addition to her acting talent, she is well-known for her physical beauty (see such interviews as “This Emma Stone Interview Will Make You Love Her That Much More” for more on that aspect of her oft-praised attributes). On a side note, she also appeared in the star-studded Movie 43 (2013) with Mortez among many other A-list actors and actresses.
2. Scarlett Johansson
American actress Scarlett Johansson (born November 22, 1984) has appeared in such major motion pictures as Eight Legged Freaks (2002), The Island (2005), The Black Dahlia (2006), The Prestige (2006), and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). Yet, she is best known for her portrayal of the Marvel comic book character Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff in the blockbuster films Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), and Avengers: Age of Ultron(2015). On the small screen, she has provided voices on Robot Chicken. For her various performances, she has received so many awards and nominations that Wikipedia has a whole article dedicated to the topic. Furthermore, she was named the “Sexiest Woman Alive” by Esquire magazine in both 2006 and 2013 (the only woman to be chosen for the title twice) as well as the “Sexiest Celebrity” by Playboy magazine in 2007.
1. Jennifer Shrader Lawrence
Lawrence (born 15 August 1990) is an American actress known for playing Raven Darkhölme/Mystique in the 2011 film X-Men: First Class, a role she will reprise in X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014, and for starring as the heroine Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (2012), an adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s best-selling novel of the same name. To give you a sense of how popular and influential she has been the past year or so, just go to “List of awards and nominations received by Jennifer Lawrence” to see all her numerous awards and nominations, so many that Wikipedia actually has a whole article (in list format, something we at TopTenz.net and History and Headlines certainly can appreciate!) dedicated to them. In fact, she has been the subject of more than just one web list. See for example here for more insight into her quirky personality.
Question for students (and subscribers): Who is your favorite young actress? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Jennifer Lawrence: Burning Bright. Triumph Books, 2013.
“Scarlett Johansson – Sexiest Woman Alive.” Esquire Magazine, November 2013.
Schuman, Michael A. Emma!: Amazing Actress Emma Stone (Sizzling Celebrities). Enslow Publishers, 2013.