Jessica Chastain, "The Debt," "The Help," "Take Shelter," "The Tree of Life"
After guest shots on TV series including "Veronica Mars" and "Law & Order: Trial By Jury," Chastain worked steadily in films, but due to entertainment industry flukes, she had to wait for six of them to get released within seven months in 2011. From Terrence Malick's poetic "Tree of Life" to the acclaimed indie "Take Shelter" [pictured], it was a remarkable run of work. But the highlight was her radiant turn in surprise smash "The Help," which landed Chastain SAG and Golden Globe noms alongside co-star (and fellow breakout) Octavia Spencer.
What's next for Chastain: She has a slew of projects in the works—including "TRON: Legacy" director Joseph Kosinski's "Horizons" with Tom Cruise—and completed work on "Wettest County," opposite Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf for "The Road" director John Hillcoat.