Like his most famous character, Daniel Radcliffe graduated in 2012. Free from the Harry Potter franchise after eight blockbusting movies, everybody wanted to know what he was going to do next.
What he did was scare the pants off us. With book adap The Woman In Black , he delivered his most mature performance yet as widower Arthur Kipps. The film stayed with us for weeks and Radcliffe set out his ambitions in full – he’s not going to play this one safe.
Sticking to that, he’s spent the remainder of 2012 filming roles in incredibly diverse projects, from donning horns for, er, Horns to playing gay poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings (pictured above). Both are due out next year; 2013 can’t come quickly enough.
Not just anybody can pull off a purple rinse. Somehow, though, Elizabeth Banks made it look – dare we say – cool in this year’s The Hunger Games . Turning in a well-judged performance that lingered just on the right side of camp, she found the humour in games aficionado Effie Trinket despite the gaudy garb. An icon is born.
After that she proved one of the better things about so-so drama People Like Us before awarding herself a prime role in high school musical Pitch Perfect – a film she produced.
Also this year, Banks got behind the camera for the third time for a segment of compilation flick Movie 43 . This lady, it seems, can do anything – purple rinses and all.
Uggie The Dog
Every dog has its day, and Uggie’s had the lion’s share. The year began with everybody cooing over his adorable performance in The Artist – he proved so popular that he even took home an honorary Oscar (after nabbing the Palm Dog Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival).
It’s been a whirlwind year since, with a memoir now on shelves ( Uggie: My Stor y ), his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a Best Dog trophy at the Golden Collar Awards.
It all culminated in a cameo in Will Ferrell comedy The Campaign . Uggerly, huggably brilliant.
Bridesmaids introduced her in 2011, and Rebel Wilson hasn’t rested a beat since, filming roles in everything from as-yet-unreleased cat-fest Bachelorette and middling baby-com What To Expect When You’re Expecting .
She’s often the best thing in ‘all right’ movies (we’re looking at you, A Few Best Men ). It’s Pitch Perfect that we love her for in 2012, though. Out at the tail end of December, it’s an upbeat Glee -alike that has Wilson on top sarcastic form.
He had only one film out this year, but it was a biggie. And when that film was The Amazing Spider-Man , you can sort of let Garfield off the hook a little.
The 29-year-old Brit did many things with Spider-Man , but most impressive was turning geeky loser Peter Parker into a cool dude – the epitome of chic geek. He also helped us forget that Raimi only finished his third Spidey outing five years ago, and nailed the cheeky Spidey quips that were mostly missing from Raimi’s films.
Next: The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Was there anyone who mixed it up more this year than our very own Emily Blunt? Between Looper , Your Sister’s Sister and The Five Year Engagement , she had her fingers in all sorts of genre pies during 2012.
Of them all, Looper was perhaps the most impressive, not least for her near faultless yank drawl – and ability to stare down a rifle barrel with deadly intent.
Your Sister’s Sister was indie fun embodied, though, and all the more impressive for being shot on the fly over just 12 days. And God forbid we forget her surprise reprisal of bitchy PR Emily in The Muppets …
Honestly, you go along not releasing any films at all, and then suddenly you have a year when four come out in a rush.
That year was 2012, and the person starring in those four films was Elizabeth Olsen – younger sister of kiddie-actors-turned-fashionistas the Olsen twins. First came the five-starred Marthy, Marcy, May, Marlene , in which Olsen essayed frailty and insanity with breathtaking results.
Less high profile were the likes of Liberal Arts and Red Lights , though both found her on fine form. And then there was Silent House , far from a horror cash-in, and more of a likeable if flawed experiment in creeping terror. How many films does it take to become our new favourite actress? We’d say about four. Yeah, that’ll do it.
Alright, so we said Emily Blunt had a really diverse year, but she had a genre-hopping comrade in the ruby red form of her (brief) The Muppets co-star Amy Adams.
The year began with Adams crooning sweetly alongside Jason Segel in James Bobin’s glorious, dusted-off Muppets reboot (she even got a duet with Miss Piggy). From there, she pitched up in Walter Salles’ On The Road adap before bringing some serious edge to the otherwise forgettable Trouble With The Curve .
It was the tail end of 2012 that really gave us a good dose of Adams magnificence, though, as the actress played Philip Seymour Hoffman’s brittle wife in The Master – if anything, the film needed more of her. Deleted scenes, eh PTA?
And, finally, we were given our first glimpse of Adams as Lois Lane in the full Man Of Steel trailer. It really was just a glimpse – a single shot, in fact – but it has us hankering for more. With that and an untitled David O. Russell project on the horizon, Adams is out to conquer movieland. We’d happily be her henchpeople.
The first few months of 2012 were caught up in a black and white fever. That was in no small part thanks to a guy called Jean Dujardin, and a little movie called The Artist , which came out just two days before the year began, but kept us hooked all the way up to the Oscars.
Talking of the Oscars. On the receiving end of those golden baldies was not just director Michel Hazanavicius, but also French star Dujardin, who took home the Best Actor trophy. We clapped, we cheered – with his bravura physical performance, there was no doubt that this guy deserved it.
Next year, he’ll be starring in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street . C’est la vie!
In 2012, Tatum dodged a bullet. Just as we were all ready to write him off as a romcommer and action star, he revealed an unexpected ace card: he’s funny. Like, really funny.
That revelation first came in the form of 21 Jump Street, the belated TV adap that had him playing hot cop to Jonah Hill’s goofy cop. Except the roles were reversed in a modern high school, leading to one of the most enjoyable movie capers we’ve watched in a while.
And then Magic Mike body-popped on stage. Based partly on Tatum’s own life story, the cringe-worthy set-up – guy strippers, wooo! – turned out to be a stylish drama with heart. And stripping. Next up: Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects.
What does the first female recipient of the Best Director Oscar do after going for gold? Well, she takes four years off (via 2011 TV movie The Miraculous Year ), then turns her eye on a suitably meaty subject.
After The Hurt Locker made her the talk of tinseltown, Bigelow spent 2012 shooting Zero Dark Thirty , which charts the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his ultimate death in 2011. She’s got so much heft now that she was even granted access to secret files on the real-life mission.
As 2012 draws to a close, Zero ’s been snaffling awards left right and centre (the New York Film Critics Circle awarded Bigelow Best Director for the film), and it’s not even out until January 2013. Bigelow’s set to get even bigger, mark our words.
It wasn’t a fluke, then. If 2012 told us anything about Ben Affleck, it was that this guy could direct. And we mean, direct .
Five years after he first hopped behind the camera (we’re not counting ’93 film I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meat Hook, And Now I Have A Three-Picture Deal At Disney ) with Gone Baby Gone , Affleck asserted himself as one of Hollywood’s finest directors with Argo .
It’s a tough sell on paper, but Affleck made magic happen on screen – he crafted a polished political thriller that was fun, sparky and thoroughly entertaining. Next!
You don’t win a Total Film Hotlist award for nothing, you know. And this year, Hiddleston nabbed the biggun when we bequeathed him the Hottest Actor trophy.
There’s a reason he won. On screen, he’s become one of Britain’s brightest sparks, quickly turning himself into an actor to watch with the varied likes of The Deep Blue Sea and War Horse .
He didn’t stop in 2012, either, rewarding Loki-lovers with a deliciously scaly turn in Avengers Assemble . He even voiced a character on cult stop-motion TV series Robot Chicken . This man can do no wrong.
‘One ruthless crime lord, 20 elite cops, 30 floors of chaos.’ That’s the tagline for Gareth Evans’ steam-roller of a movie The Raid , which pummelled on to our shores in May 2012. Promising insane action the likes of which cinema-goers hadn’t seen for years, The Raid became its own buzzword as hype spread and turned it into a mega-hit.
And boy did Evans deliver. A breathless, uber-violent thriller, The Raid is a whirlwind of a film that leaves you giddy.
Better yet, Evans has spent 2012 prepping sequel Berandal . Bring it, say we. Bring it.
It’s hard enough starring in your own show. But how about writing it as well? Having established herself as a singular voice with Very Important Things To Say in 2010’s Tiny Furniture , Lena Dunham’s sharpened that voice considerably with TV series Girls .
Airing on HBO in the States and Sky Atlantic here, the show’s a modern-day counterpart to Sex And The City that doesn’t get bogged down in fashion and flamboyance, presenting an all-too realistic version of life in the big city for youngsters. And Dunham’s at the centre of it all, a mopey, riveting presence.
She even found time this year to film a role in Judd Apatow’s This Is 40 , out next February. Does this girl ever sleep?
When The Office and Sherlock star Martin Freeman was announced as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s new slew of Hobbit movies, we’re sure the entire world gave an appreciative nod of approval.
In turn, Freeman hasn’t betrayed that vote of confidence. He simply is Bilbo.
As we wrote in our official review: “Freeman’s the all-too-human face of Jackson’s gargantuan vision, his performance indicating that the emotional stakes will keep pace with the ramped-up challenges ahead.”
Quentin Tarantino wrote the role of empowered slave Django for Will Smith. When Smith turned it down, Tarantino turned to one person: Jamie Foxx.
That’s quite a commendation, and Foxx doesn’t look to have disappointed. Though the film’s not out ‘til January 2013, it’s been impossible to escape Foxx throughout 2012 – from whip-cracking Django Unchained trailers, to the steady stream of excitement-baiting promotional material, his face has been everywhere.
And it looks like 2013 is going to be an even bigger year for Foxx, who’s also landed the role of the main villain in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 …
Just last week, Ms Hathaway pitched up at the New York premiere of Les Misérables wearing some striking – nay, brave as hell – Tom Ford bondage heels.
It’s something we should really have expected from an actress who’s becoming one of the most diverse and, yes, brave working today.
For a start, she pulled off the role of Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises . Though she was never referred to as Catwoman, she obliterated memories of Halle Berry’s ill-fated outing as the purring prowler – and proved she could hold her own against Nolan’s big boys.
Then, just after Christmas, there’s Les Misérables , which has her singing live (often in adverse conditions) and severing her luscious locks in the name of art. Brave isn’t the word…
With roles in Coriolanus , The Help and The Tree Of Life in 2011 alone, Jessica Chastain’s been climbing the Hollywood ladder for years now. In 2012, audiences finally sat up and took a sharp intake of breath.
That’s thanks in most part to two films. The first, Lawless , used her fragile, pearly beauty brilliantly as she got up close and personal with Tom Hardy in the liquor-swilling days of prohibition.
Meanwhile, the buzz surrounding her next big move was almost deafening, as Chastain landed a role in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty . Her performance has already been gathering buzz – she’s been nominated for a Best Actress award by the Screen Actors Guild…
In a year that served up some deliciously chewy blockbusters ( Avengers , Skyfall , Battleship , oh alright, we’re kidding with that last one), Nolan had quite a fight on his hands as he prepared to deliver his final Bat flick.
We never doubted him for a second. Effectively dodging the ‘trilogy curse’ (see Alien , X-Men , Terminator ), Nolan fashioned the perfect closer to his Bat trilogy – an elegiac, graceful bust-blocker that tied up the loose ends while going for the emotional kick.
And as the Bat flew off into the distance, the first full trailer for the Nolan-produced Man Of Steel debuted online, giving us our first proper look at Supes in action. It looks just as majestic as anything Nolan’s put his considerable heft behind.
She’s been producing Bond films ever since GoldenEye (having been associate producer on The Living Daylights and Licence To Kill ), but it was in 2012 that Broccoli hit a zenith with her majesty’s favourite spy.
After years of waiting for the 23rd Bond outing to hit the big screen, Broccoli finally made it happen with Skyfall . Not only was it a true event movie, celebrating London the same year as the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics, it also set serious records.
Having earned £96m at the UK box office so far, Skyfall is officially the highest grossing movie of all time on our shores – beating the humungous likes of Avatar , Titanic and Harry Potter himself. All hail the producing Queen.
Things were looking shaky for Tom for a while there. Caustic cameo in Tropic Thunder aside, he’d spent the last few years lurching from one flop ( Valkyrie ) to another ( Knight & Day ), with his brand in serious need of saving.
Tom saved himself in 2012. The year dawned with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in cinemas, the 49-year-old (he turned 50 in July, congrats!) showing just as much derring-do as ever before.
With Rock Of Ages , he revealed a decent set of pipes and a willingness to try new things, while Jack Reacher reminded us just why this guy’s still playing action heroes.
And then came the trailer for Oblivion , which looks every bit as riveting as anything he’s ever done…
It took him a while, but Matthew McConaughey finally rediscovered his mojo in 2012 after wallowing in romcom hell for well over a decade.
He’d shown signs of willing with courtroom drama The Lincoln Lawyer in 2011 (so long after showing promise with A Time To Kill ).
But it was 2012 that proved his feet were well and truly found – McConaughey followed Lawyer with dazzling turns in Killer Joe and Magic Mike . He terrified in the former and thrilled in the latter.
Welcome back, Matty.
If 2011 was the year of Gosling, 2012 was the year that Fassbender well and truly KOed the big screen.
He came out of the holding gate firing on all cylinders. Metaphorically, of course, because it was Shame that had people whispering all January about that guy who went full frontal in some film about a sex addict.
True to form, Fassbender ensured people were also talking about the performance – a fragile, shivering turn that was unutterably haunting.
That he followed it up with blockbuster Prometheus – of which it’s generally agreed he was the best component – proved Fassbender could do anything. Yes, even survive having his head ripped off by an angry alien.
The minute that viral image of Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises hit the internet, this young Brit jumped right to the top of Google.
And there he’s stayed. Portraying Bane with the kind of imposing physicality that Christian Bale has long cornered the market on, Hardy was the villain TDKR needed to close out the franchise – a big brute who just wanted to smash things. Boy did it work.
Before that, though, Hardy also treated us to Lawless , in which he managed to be intimidating while wearing little more than a cardy. It was a feat that earned him a new nickname (the ‘Hardigan’). The guy rocks.
Hard to imagine that long-haired hippy kid from Third Rock From The Sun turning out this way.
But after a less-messy-than-some journey through teen flicks ( Halloween H20 , 10 Things I Hate About You ), JGL has emerged as one of our most promising leading men.
He showed us what he had this year, turning a potentially boring good guy in The Dark Knight Rises into a likeable, affable chap we could all root for. Then there was Premium Rush (fun if throwaway), in which JGL essayed some well-judged humour.
And then, of course, there was Looper , in which the young star delivered a fantastic version of Bruce Willis despite cumbersome prosthetics. (Not to mention that topless SNL sketch, which had him riffing on Magic Mike .) With a jump into directing next year, JGL still has even more to give…
Say what you will about George Lucas, but when it came to the crunch, it’s arguable he did the best thing he could possibly do with the Star Wars franchise when he handed the keys to the (far, far away) galaxy over to Disney.
Selling Lucasfilm for a staggering $4bn, he relinquished just about all rights to the franchise (aside from as a consultant role which essentially gives him nothing “much to do”, according to Lucas).
What does that mean? Well, a whole new generation of filmmakers now have access to his universe. It also means – hopefully – that we’ll be able to avoid a repeat of the debacle that was Lucas’ much-maligned prequels.
And with a new Star Wars film due out just about every couple of years from 2015, hopefully a string of exciting new space adventures. Thanks, George.
If you’d never heard of her before 2012 (if you lived on the moon, maybe), by the tail-end of 2012, Kennedy had become one of the most talked-about women working in movieland.
Two words: Star Wars . When George Lucas handed Lucasfilm over to Disney, Kennedy stepped up as president of the beard’s ex-company. Which put her top of the pile when it comes to move-making in La-La-Land.
If there was any doubt that a new Star Wars film was a bad idea, Kennedy’s quickly set about gaining our confidence with smart choices. She hired Michael Arndt ( Toy Story 3 ) to write the script, and rumours abound that Matthew Vaughn will be the one behind the camera.
Kathleen Kennedy – get used to the name. She’s already been in the industry for over 30 years, and she’s going to be around a little while longer.
This was the year that Jennifer Lawrence started growing up. Obviously, we know the biggie: not content with having one franchise under her belt (see X-Men: First Class ), she risked fan ire by taking on the role of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games .
Her nuanced performance silenced nay-sayers, too, and The Hunger Games was one of the year’s most successful big hitters – embraced by bookworms and movie-goers alike, it thrust Lawrence still further into the spotlight. It’s a place she seems relatively happy in, at least judging by her relaxed, jokey interviews.
So how did she grow up? Well, she nabbed a role in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook . Not just any role – it’s the one that might grab her that elusive Oscar. Playing a troubled young woman, it’s a role typical of Lawrence, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t tackle it with characteristic guts. Keep those eyes peeled come Oscar season.
The worst kept secret in Hollywood. The geek of geeks. And the only guy crazy enough to contemplate taking on the biggest blockbuster Marvel (and 2012, come to think of it) have to offer.
Those Whedonites who’ve stuck with Sir Joss through his many trials on screens big and small ( Buffy dumped by the WB then cancelled, Firefly unceremoniously shafted, Alien: Resurrection butchered and Serenity all but ignored) knew he had it in him, and with Avengers Assemble he well and truly delivered.
Crammed with action and wit, and somehow giving us everything we wanted from every one of our favourite Avengers, his Avengers was a soaring success both critically and commercially. He must have a clone beavering away somewhere, though – somehow Whedon even found time to co-write 2012’s sharpest comedy-horror Cabin In The Woods .
Whedon, you owned 2012. Next up, Avengers 2 …