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Who’s Next in Hollywood?

Sam Stryker | Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring has sprung, and with it, a new batch of chicks is hatching. No, not the avian kind, but of the cinematic variety. The Hollywood box office is starting to heat up, and it isn’t just thanks to blockbusters like the recently released “The Hunger Games” or the heavily anticipated summer slate of films. No, there is something to be said for the ladies of many of these movies ¾ they are young, gorgeous and most important, vying to be Hollywood’s next “It-Girl.”

The barrage of eligible young lasses first hit with “The Hunger Games.” To be sure, the film’s massive box office haul is largely a product of the popularity of the book it was based off of. But someone had to bring these characters to life, most importantly, the heroine Katniss Everdeen.

Many an actress could have simply shown up to the set, but Jennifer Lawrence embodied Katniss to the core. Lawrence is beautiful, spunky and talented – she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress at the age of 20 for her work in “Winter’s Bone,” the second-youngest ever to accomplish such an honor.

Following swiftly behind Lawrence is Lily Collins, daughter of British musician Phil Collins. Don’t be fooled by the famous last name – Collins may have a famous dad, but she is coming into her own, starring opposite Julia Roberts in the recently-released take on Snow White, “Mirror, Mirror.” Lily is young, beautiful and a hot acting commodity and like Lawrence, she seems to be known for her thespian talent, not her off-the-screen antics.

Rounding out the list of up-and-coming actresses is Emma Stone, who perhaps best embodies this notion of the “new” Hollywood actress. Stone is swiftly approaching household-name status, thanks to her work in the critically-acclaimed “The Help” and her upcoming role as Gwen Stacy in the superhero blockbuster “The Amazing Spiderman.”

Once again, Stone is a young lady known for her acting chops – namely her biting wit and easygoing persona. It is easy to forget how beautiful she is when she is so talented and driven in her craft. It would seem Hollywood is in good, albeit manicured, hands.

So why, all of a sudden, are these Hollywood actresses known for being just that – actresses, not celebrities, tabloid-fodder and lightning rods for controversy? Point the figure at the long list of ladies who enjoy the spotlight too much – Lindsay Lohan and Megan Fox at the top – and to those who are arrogant or spiteful about their place in American culture – Katherine Heigl and Kristen Stewart immediately come to mind.

Audiences tend to forget how talented Lindsay is – “Mean Girls” is a cult-classic – and Fox starred in the first two installments of the gargantuan “Transformers” series. But then legal and personal problems began to envelope Lohan’s public persona, and Fox was essentially fired for comparing director Michael Bay to Hitler. Neither were very endearing to the American public and consequently, they may have blown their shot at Hollywood glory – though media attention seems to be in their grasp.

Whereas some actresses become too media-exposed, others display a disdain for the limelight audiences find pretentious. Stewart’s notoriously pouty face and Heigl’s bratty comments – she withdrew her name from Emmy consideration because she didn’t feel her “Grey’s Anatomy” role was developed enough, a slight to the show’s writers – have certainly pushed them out of favor with theatergoers, with neither attracting the following of leading ladies such as Stone. Fame seems to be fickle, like a tightrope – you don’t want to be too comfortable with it, yet you also need to embrace it to a certain degree so as to not appear ungrateful.

That isn’t to say the bevy of talented, young, spunky yet endearing young actresses are coming out of the blue. Emma Watson provides the blueprint for the latest crop of starlets. Despite starring in the “Harry Potter” series, one of the biggest Hollywood juggernauts ever, Watson still seems normal.

While she embraced the spotlight, she also attended college for a few years, stayed out of the clubbing scene, never made any offensive comments and consequently has a following of millions of adoring fans. Following Hermione’s – sorry, Emma’s – blueprint seems to be a surefire way to success. America loves talented actresses – not talented train wrecks.