Published Dec 19, 2017Greta Gerwig
American actress and filmmaker Greta Gerwig has been stealing the spotlight since before her major breakout in 2012 with Frances Ha, but 2017 was a career year for the Sacramento-bred star, first with a starring role in Mike Mills' acclaimed 20th Century Women, then with her solo directorial debut, Lady Bird (which holds a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes).
Former Mad TV cast member Jordan Peele turned the industry on its head in 2017 with his hilarious, haunting and thought-provoking horror Get Out and has been tied to a ton of projects ever since. (He was originally rumoured to be helming a live action Akira remake, is said to be helping develop a TV drama about Nazi hunters and has four other horror movies in the works.)
Not only did Canadian actor Ryan Gosling learn piano in just a couple of months in order to complete his La La Land role (which he won a Golden Globe for and was nominated for an Oscar), but he breathed life into one of the world's coldest creatures in this year's Blade Runner 2049.
There were plenty of brave people who spoke out against sexual misconduct in Hollywood this year, but if they had a de facto leader it was most certainly Rose McGowan. The former Charmed star has emerged as a voice of protest against sexual misconduct in showbiz, and she made her voice heard loud and clear throughout the burning trash fire that was 2017. With a memoir due in early 2018, there's no doubt that McGowan will continue to be a valuable voice for change in Hollywood and beyond.
It's not abnormal for James Franco to do lots of stuff — he's a writer, director, artist, academic and actor who's always dabbling in something. He stood out in 2017, however, because so much of what he did was actually good. Along with a scene-stealing turn in Alien: Covenant, Franco starred as two characters in HBO's breakout series The Deuce, directing multiple episodes in the process. Still, it was The Disaster Artist that really sealed the deal. His film about the making of The Room, which saw him direct and star as Tommy Wiseau, is one of the most poignant comedies we've seen in years.
Girls Trip was a rare gem in the rough of 2017 — a beaming comedy that made money while, remarkably, also being funny. Its not-so-secret weapon was Tiffany Haddish, whose breakthrough performance harkened back to Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids. Real heads weren't surprised — Haddish had been stealing scenes in the sadly cancelled Carmichael Show, and her standup was becoming legendary (as demonstrated on She Ready). She was living in her car a few years ago, but now Haddish stands as the next comedy superstar.