In terms of film, 2011 was undoubtedly the year of Jessica Chastain.

2012 will be the year of — who?

Ms. Chastain is the stunning actress who was suddenly everywhere last year. She starred alongside Helen Mirren in “The Debt.” She was the female lead in two of the year’s top art films, “Take Shelter” and “The Tree of Life,” and she was an integral part of one of the year’s most popular films, “The Help.”

Now she’s nominated for a Golden Globe, in the running for an Oscar nomination and the recipient of numerous critics awards (including Breakthrough Performer from the Detroit Film Critics Society).

In truth, it’s unlikely that anyone will replicate the breadth of Chastain’s sudden success. But there will be breakthroughs this year, as in every year. Here are five faces to keep an eye on:

Lily Collins

The daughter of singer Phil Collins steps center stage in a big way this year, playing Snow White to Julia Roberts’ evil queen in “Mirror Mirror” come March, and then taking the lead in the fantasy franchise “The Mortal Instruments” at year’s end. She also has “The English Teacher” with Julianne Moore.

Liam Hemsworth

This 21-year-old Australian becomes part of the love triangle in March’s highly touted “The Hunger Games,” then serves as the new kid on the block in the action sequel “ The Expendables 2” in August, working alongside Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Jason Statham.

Taylor Kitsch

The ex-star of TV’s “Friday Night Lights” goes to Mars in March with “John Carter,” sails the blockbuster seas in May’s “Battleship” and then stars in Oliver Stone’s bloody drug dealer drama “Savages” in September. He’ll have every chance to break big or bust.

Felicity Jones

She won great and deserved praise for last year’s “Like Crazy;” but let’s face it, few saw the film. This year she could become a prestige darling with the Victorian sex comedy “Hysteria,” the wedding day dramedy “Cheerful Weather for the Wedding,” and a third untitled film costarring Guy Pearce, Kyle MacLachlan and Amy Ryan.

Nicholas Hoult

OK, the guy’s been around ever since he did “About a Boy” when he was 12, but he’s hardly a household name. That could change with two summer would- be hits. He plays the Jack, of beanstalk fame, in June’s “ Jack the Giant Killer,” and then has a zombie romance in August’s “Warm Bodies.”



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