6. Luke Evans
Luke Evans has been a familiar face in genre films over the past two years. From playing Apollo in 2010’s “Clash of the Titans” remake to dabbling in Greek mythology again as Zeus in “Immortals,” and from depicting the Sheriff’s thug in “Robin Hood” to Aramis in “The Three Musketeers,” Evans was a force to be reckoned with in these (albeit disappointing) films. That’s hopefully about to change in 2012, though. He’ll star as opposite John Cusack in “The Raven” and as Bard in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” In addition, Evans has roles in the noir film “Ashes” and the horror movie “No One Lives” to round out a very busy three years.
7. Benjamin Walker
It’s been seven years since Benjamin Walker made his big break in 2004’s Academy Award-nominated film “Kinsey.” Walker went on to star in the 2006 Clint Eastwood flick “Flags of Our Fathers,” but has largely laid low in the past half decade. He’s gearing up for a comeback in 2012, though. Between playing Abraham Lincoln in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and the archangel Michael in the recently-delayed “Paradise Lost,” Walker will likely be catapulted into the Hollywood A-list by the time 2013 rolls around.
8. Alice Eve
Alice Eve caught the world’s attention in the surprisingly charming 2010 romantic comedy “She’s Out Of My League,” but her big follow-up to that film has been delayed until 2012. Next year she’ll play the female lead in two major releases: “The Raven” and “Men in Black III.” That should earn the British actress the star power she deserves by the time she plays the female lead in the upcoming sequel to J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek,” which is set to hit theaters in 2013.
9. Taylor Kitsch
Fans of “Friday Night Lights” have been following the career trajectory of Taylor Kitsch since 2006, but to the rest of the world he’s just that guy who played Gambit in the 2009 flick “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” All that’s about to change in 2012, however, as Kitsch is headlining three of the biggest releases of the year. He’ll play the titular hero from Earth in the upcoming sci-fi flick “John Carter” and re-team with “Friday Night Lights” showrunner Peter Berg in “Battleship,” the sci-fi adaptation of the classic game. Then he’ll be rounding out the year with Oliver Stone’s crime drama “Savages,” which places him opposite other up-and-comers Blake Lively and Aaron Johnson as well as established actors like Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Salma Hayek, and Benicio del Toro.
10. Josh Hutcherson
There’s a reason both Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence were featured on the most recent poster for “The Hunger Games”: he’s as big a star in the film as she is. Though Liam Hemsworth, who plays the other male lead, has overshadowed Hutcherson in the flick’s promotion, it’s truly Hutcherson who gets more of the screen time. In addition to “The Hunger Games,” Hutcherson stars in the long-gestating remake of “Red Dawn,” which will finally hit theaters in 2012. Between those two movies and his art forgery drama “Carmel,” Hutcherson should finally get the break he’s been on the brink of since he starred in 2007’s “Bridge to Terabithia.”