It was tough picking 10 breakout stars compared to years past, highlighting the continuing fracturing of the media entertainment landscape and how much tougher it is to capture everyone’s attention as a performer. But what stars lack in zeitgeist-smashing power these days has been made up with diversity and more complex roles, and the following actors have risen to that occasion this year and appear primed to continue into the future. Who would you add to the list?
Saturday Night Live celebrates the premiere of its 40th season this weekend, and to celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of critically-acclaimed films featuring SNL alums. The movies listed here aren’t necessarily the best or the best-reviewed movies from these stars; rather, we wanted to give a sense of the range and versatility of the not-ready-for-primetime players. Featuring those who rose to prominence during their time on the show (Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, Kristin Wiig) and a few you may have forgotten about (Robert Downey Jr., Julia Louis-Dreyfus), our list is a testament to SNL‘s continuing relevance as an incubator for some of the entertainment world’s brightest talents.
Full of humor and nostalgia, and featuring wry supporting turns by Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, Adventureland is a sweet, insightful coming-of-age comedy that will resonate with teens and adults alike.
Wryly charming, impeccably acted, and ultimately quite bittersweet, Enough Said is a grown-up movie in the best possible way, and it offers a chance to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus play an intriguingly complex character.
Blessed by a brilliantly befuddled star turn from Chevy Chase (as well as strong supporting work from Randy Quaid and a young Anthony Michael Hall), National Lampoon’s Vacation is one of the more consistent — and thoroughly quotable — screwball comedies of the 1980s.
Smartly directed, brilliantly acted, and packed with endlessly quotable moments, This Is Spinal Tap is an all-time comedy classic, and represents a high water mark for stars Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer.
An oddball comedy that revels in its silliness and memorable catch phrases, Wayne’s World is also fondly regarded because of its endearing leads — played with infectious goofiness by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey.
Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut has enough charm, energy, and good-natured humor to transcend its many cliches — and it features fine supporting performances by Kristen Wiig and Jimmy Fallon.
This week, we learn that Chris Pratt will host SNL, Terry Crews will give directions on Waze, Gilmore Girls will head to Netflix, George Clooney will visit Downton, and Nurse Jackie will retire.
Chris Pratt will host the season premiere of Saturday Night Live.
As the box office numbers for Guardians of the Galaxy continue to rocket higher and higher, Chris Pratt‘s stock continues to rise as well. This week, NBC announced that Pratt will host the premiere of the 40th season of Saturday Night Live, airing Sept. 27. Pratt, who showed off his comedy chops on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, will be joined by musical guest Ariana Grande, a singer whose 2014 song “Problem” was the fourth largest single debut by a woman in history. NBC will celebrate the 40th anniversary of SNL with a three-hour special scheduled for Feb. 15 of next year.
All seven seasons of Gilmore Girls are coming to Netflix.
According to the entertainment website Decider.com, all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls will be available on Netflix, starting Oct. 1. For the uninitiated, that’s 153 episodes of Gilmore Girls. The series aired on The WB and eventually The CW from 2000 to 2007, and starred Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel — and also introduced us to Melissa McCarthy, who played Lorelai Gilmore’s best friend, Sookie St. James. All seasons of Gilmore Girls are also available on iTunes and DVD.
George Clooney will star in a Downton-themed short film.
Hold onto your exquisite hats. George Clooney is coming to Downton Abbey in a short film for charity, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The short Downton-related film will air during the holiday season on ITV, the British home for Downton Abbey. Clooney, whose character is still unknown, is doing the project as part of the “Text Santa” campaign, ITV’s annual fundraiser that raises money for six U.K. charities. ITV will premiere season five of Downton later this month. We’ll see it here across the pond on PBS Jan. 4, 2015.
Nurse Jackie is retiring.
Nurse Jackie‘s seventh season, which begins production this week, will be its last. Showtime made the announcement on Wednesday, tweeting: “#NurseJackie is working one last shift! Join us in celebrating and bidding farewell to the 7th & FINAL season in 2015.” While the Emmys have continued to acknowledge Jackie throughout its run (and especially star Edie Falco), the show has dropped off the radars of viewers and critics alike, many of whom say it got a little too “been there, snorted that” in its most recent season.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Terry Crews will voice the Waze app.
Sitting in traffic is awful, but thanks to the crowdsourced GPS app Waze, you can circumnavigate jams with funnyman Terry Crews as your guide. Crews is the second celebrity to give directions on Waze (the first was Kevin Hart for his film Ride Along), promoting the second season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. To cruise with Crews, Waze users can update the app, select “Settings,” “Sound,” and “English (US) – Terry Crews.” Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine premieres Sunday, Sept. 28, at 8:30 pm.
Which funny ladies will win the Emmy on Aug. 25? If the Rotten Tomatoes critics we polled are correct, it’ll be a downright shocker if Julia Louis-Dreyfus doesn’t take Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Two of our critics, however, have hope for Amy Poehler in Parks and Recreation. As for Lena Dunham, Edie Falco, Melissa McCarthy, and Taylor Schilling, not one of the 12 Rotten Tomatoes critics we queried picked them for the win. Click over to the Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series tab to see a wider range of predictions.
I think it’s between Amy Poehler and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. But I really want Amy Poehler to win, and I’ll bet on her just for that sake. Parks and Rec deserves everything that it could possibly get.— Ben Travers, IndieWire
Is it Orange is the New Black, or is it Veep? Man, that’s a coin toss. I wouldn’t be surprised by either. But I think people who love Orange recognize that it’s much more of an ensemble piece, whereas Veep is so driven by her, that I think she’ll win it.— Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
If I could be the comedy god, my pick would be Edie Falco because I’m a huge Nurse Jackie fan, but I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus will win again and you could make a strong case for why she should. That show’s been really good.— Eric Deggans, NPR
Which funny ladies will win the Emmy on Aug. 25? If the Rotten Tomatoes critics we polled are any indication, Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series is anybody’s game. This year’s nominees are: Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler in Big Bang Theory; Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy in Modern Family; Allison Janney as Bonnie in Mom; Kate Mulgrew as Galina “Red” Reznikov in Orange Is The New Black; Kate McKinnon in Saturday Night Live; Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer in Veep.
It’s either going to be Allison Janney or Kate Mulgrew. I would probably lay good odds on Allison Janney winning this — they love her, she’s really good on the show, and she gets to do dramatic things in a comic way.— Alan Sepinwall, HitFix
I think Kate Mulgrew is going to take this for Orange is the New Black. Allison Janney would be a good pick as well. The Emmys love her; the TV Academy is a big fan of Allison. But I think Orange is the New Black is going to pick up a few trophies, and that will be one of them.— Ben Travers, IndieWire
I would love to see it go to Kate McKinnon for Saturday Night Live. She’s so funny. Since Kristen Wiig left the show, she’s done a really good job of stepping up and filling that void in the cast.— Bonnie Stiernberg, Paste Magazine
I think she’s got some cachet and she’s better than the show she’s in, which I think always helps. Julie Bowen is terrific, but she’s won already, so I think maybe they’ll go with Allison this year.— David Hinckley, New York Daily News
Julie Bowen has deservedly won twice for her portrayal of Claire Dunphy, and she could repeat. But here’s a prediction that Mayim Bialik will score on her third nomination for her hilarious Amy Farrah Fowler portrayal.— Joanne Ostrow, Denver Post
She is the brightest light in a very, very dark closet right now. She has no fear. She is very much on the Kristen Wiig and Will Farrell side of things… She is the stand-out star on that show.— Kristian Harloff, Schmoes Know
This is a crazy category because the person who won last year isn’t nominated… I think it’s probably going to be Allison Janney. Her getting two Emmys will be a nice little story and she’s great on Mom. She picked a really good submission. — Todd VanDerWerff, Vox Media
Movie City News shares with us a press release from the London Film Critics Group in which their various nominations are announced. Keep in mind that the Brit crits use their own release dates as criteria, so don’t be surprised to see a few 2004 releases in the mix.
The Attenborough Award for British Film of the Year