Variety Announces 10 Actors to Watch for 2016

10 Actors to Watch

Variety is pleased to announce its annual list of 10 Actors to Watch, an honor the publication has bestowed since 1998.

Past honorees include many future Oscar winners and nominees, such as Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Brie Larson, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Shannon, and Melissa Leo.

This year’s honorees will be feted in the Oct. 4 issue of Variety, in conjunction with coverage of the Hamptons International Film Festival, which runs Oct. 6 to Oct. 10. This marks the fifth year Variety has collaborated with the festival to present Actors to Watch.

“The Hamptons International Film Festival has had the privilege of honoring rising talent for over 15 years. We are thrilled to once again partner with Variety to recognize this group of 10 diverse, talented actors for the incredible work they have done in their careers,” says HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent. “As we have seen our previous honorees blossom over the years, with just this year Brie Larson and Alicia Vikander both taking home Academy Awards, we know this class has a bright future ahead of them.”

“As the fall film awards season approaches, there may be questions about which films will ultimately shine as prize winners, but there is no doubt that once again this year’s releases feature astounding new talents filled with creative courage and unlimited ‎potential for bright careers,” added Variety Vice President/Executive Editor Steven Gaydos. “I can’t think of a better place to celebrate their achievements than the prestigious Hamptons Film Festival.”

These are the year’s 10 Actors to Watch:

Riz Ahmed, recently on screens in “Jason Bourne” and HBO’s acclaimed drama “The Night Of,” soon to be seen in “Una” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Mahershala Ali, a “House of Cards” alum soon to be seen in the films “Moonlight,” “Kicks,” and “Hidden Figures,” and on the Netflix series “Luke Cage.”

Rachel Brosnahan, another “Cards” player, will appear in Woody Allen’s new Amazon series and in the 2016 films “Patriots Day” and “Boomtown.” She will also appear in the Off Broadway production of “Othello” opposite Daniel Craig.

Ana de Armas, now on screens in “War Dogs,” is starring in “Hands of Stone,” opening this week, and will appear in next year’s “Blade Runner.”

Alden Ehrenreich, recently named the new Han Solo, appearing in Warren Beatty’s “Rules Don’t Apply” and “The Yellow Birds” this year.

Lucas Hedges, the breakout star of “Manchester by the Sea” and appearing next year in Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Aja Naomi King, a regular on ABC’s hit “How to Get Away With Murder,” soon to be seen in the Sundance sensation “The Birth of a Nation.”

Tavi Gevinson, founder of Rookie Magazine, recently seen on Broadway in “The Crucible” and returning to the stage, appearing opposite Diane Lane in “The Cherry Orchard” this fall. Films include “Enough Said” and the upcoming “Human People.”

Kara Hayward, previously seen in “Moonrise Kingdom,” appearing in “Manchester by the Sea” and Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson” this year.

John Legend, an Oscar-winning songwriter, making his big-screen debut in “La La Land” opposite Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone this year.

For more information on the Hamptons International Film Festival, visit

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  1. s says:

    i like tavi, i think shes a great writer but she cant act. she always screams her lines and its just awkward. you know shes only getting roles because of her fame from blogging and her magazine. i feel bad for the more talented actors who should have gotten her roles.

  2. Jacqueline Coley says:

    John Legend is not making his big screen debut in La La Land. He previously appeared in Soul Men. This is his first major role in film but this is not his debut.

  3. Kevin Dillon says:

    The biggest actress to watch is Millie Bobby Brown. She is amazing.

  4. Joe says:

    All these people are already known. How’d you miss Nightcrawler with Riz?

  5. BillUSA says:

    Just thought I’d drop in to say what I always say about such lists. I’ll decide for myself who to watch out for. Thank you Tass.

  6. Sasha says:

    Does anyone else find Riz Ahmed’s performance inconsistent and overrated? Accent is off and I don’t understand why people are in love with him so much. The show on the other hand in excellent.

    • Honest Man says:

      if he was catholic they wouldn’t be in such a rush to praise him

    • hemachandra says:

      I agree. His performance is inconsistent. His character gets less interesting as the series progresses.
      Honestly, I do not like the series. The show frequently loses sight of the murder mystery. I really like John Turturo’s performance and his character is fascinating, however the show spends too much time on overly symbolic details of his life.
      I think the original show Criminal Justice is way better.

  7. Hilary says:

    Are you guys kidding – Tavi Gevinson – did you see the crucible. Can’t act, no talent, none. Gee, I wonder why you’ve got her on the list?

  8. tracyjl says:

    Tavi is the WORST actress that I have ever suffered through TWICE on Broadway. She definitely can afford good publicists to get this kind of press. Cant believe she is in a third Broadway show. Ugh. Shoot me-my ears are still ringing from her voice.

  9. John says:

    John Legend? No thanks. The minute his movie plays in international markets, all seats in the theaters will be empty.

  10. Drew_W says:

    You should change your pull quotes on these great actors: Ali himself is the HOUSE OF CARDS alum, as is Brosnahan, Ana de Almas however is not associated with anything from HOUSE OF CARDS, though it be great to see her take on the Underwoods ;- )

  11. Cafe Joe says:

    M Ali has been awesome for like 10 years. You’re just noticing him now???

    • Meg says:

      Right? I remember him way back on The 4400.

      Also, did anyone else catch that bit about Daniel Craig in Othello? Unless he is playing Iago,…

      …but they wouldn’t cast a white actor to play Othello, right?

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