Mad Max: Fury Road might have been all about Imperator Furiosa, but IMDb’s audience can’t get enough of Tom Hardy. Clearly, all the anticipation for MM:FR and its subsequent success are the main reasons he tops our list, but there’s also a tremendous amount of interest in his upcoming movie Legend, where he plays both Ronald and Reggie Kray in a dual-role performance and which looks to be the definitive story of the identical twin gangster duo. Sneaking in at the end of the year for an Oscar-qualifying release is The Revenant, which will pit Tom against Leonardo DiCaprio in a brutal-looking tale of revenge and redemption set in the uncharted American wilderness.
The fifth season of “Game of Thrones” ended with Daenerys Targaryen in a serious Dothraki situation, and we had already followed Emilia Clarke’s fan-favorite character through 10 harrowing episodes that stress-tested her Queendom.
Meanwhile, even if Terminator: Genisys wasn’t the “prequel-sequel-reboot-spelling error” we hoped for (thank you, Screen Junkies, for that expertly phrased description), the thought of Emilia playing Sarah Connor did not bother us one bit on paper.
Oh, and Esquire named her the “Sexiest Woman of the Year” — which will result in some serious Internet searches.
After her captivating performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, Margot Robbie went indie and brunette with a co-lead role in the post-apocalyptic drama Z for Zachariah featuring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pine, and lots of increasingly frightening love-triangle dynamics. Then came Focus with Will Smith, which stalled a bit in the U.S. but did just fine worldwide.
Her upcoming reunion with Will Smith should fare better: Margot is playing Harley Quinn (aka Dr. Harleen F. Quinzel) in Suicide Squad. Nothing much to see here except The Joker’s tortured lover who has a major beef with Batman. We think Harley is primed to have a lasting effect on movie audiences, much more so than any of her recent villainous counterparts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Aside from her talent, ability to land major roles, and refreshing red-carpet candor, there’s another thing that enhances her IMDb popularity: there will always be people who have just learned she’s Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson’s daughter and want to know more about her.
Prior to her supporting role in San Andreas, you’d probably first remember Alexandra Daddario from the first season of “True Detective.” Teens know her from her appearances in the two Percy Jackson movies and her starring role in Texas Chainsaw 3D.
San Andreas, a massive worldwide hit, was an atypical action movie in some ways; it was cool to see how resourceful Alexandra’s character, Blake, was in times of crisis. She cobbled together her own phone service when all cell towers were down and kept her two Brit-boy companions safe until it was Hero Time for Dwayne Johnson.
Combine Blake’s strength with Alexandra’s overall appeal, and it’s easy to see why she’s not only on this list but also currently in the running for several starring roles in big upcoming movies, including a reunion with The Rock in the Baywatch remake coming in 2017.
While Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent that brought Shailene Woodley back to the role of Tris Prior, matched the success of its predecessor, Shailene proved to be one of the most potent young movie stars and celebrities around with her IMDb popularity.
Snowden was first set for an awards-baiting release this year, but now we’ll have to wait until the 2016 summer movies season to see her portray Lindsay Mills, Edward Snowden’s girlfriend, alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The controversy regarding all things Snowden has kept Shailene in the news, too.
Just as vital as her movie roles, Shailene’s eco-conscious approach to living has made her one of the most refreshing performers around.
We’ve said this before: The action of Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation was all Tom Cruise. Its story, however, was all about Rebecca Ferguson, who segued from “The White Queen” and Hercules to M:I 5 and really made us want to buy a motorcycle. We like to think that one of the reasons she was so popular on IMDb this year has something to do with the fact that Rogue Nation’s trailers and clips didn’t reveal Ilsa’s affiliations or true intentions.
Bryce Dallas Howard
When you hold your own against Chris Pratt in the biggest box-office hit of the year and endure the bright, hot lights of controversy about Jurassic World’s gender politics, you can pretty much guarantee yourself a spot on this list. Bryce Dallas Howard is on board for the Jurassic World sequel, and next time maybe she can run in sneakers instead of high heels — or the heels will be twice as tall and she’ll be paid the same amount as Pratt.
We were still reeling from Gone Girl well into 2015. Other reasons why Rosamund Pike was on our minds through the beginning of the year: She was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her portrayal of the wickedly scheming Amy Dunne. It was a breakout year for the actress who has been working steadily since the late ’90s, and the shocking trailer for Return to Sender, a thriller that was released to capitalize on her newfound popularity, kept her atop the list of the most popular actresses on IMDb.
2015 was full of princess moments for the charismatic Lily James — especially when it didn’t work out for Amanda Seyfried to star in Cinderella and James emerged from a crowded field of actresses with the part. Combine that new-girl intrigue with a live-action fairy tale that made more than a half-billion dollars worldwide, and a new star is truly born.
Look for Lily to expand her fan base as Elizabeth Bennet in the upcoming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
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