Our 12 Favorite Breakout Stars of 2015: Rami Malek, Jussie Smollett & More
Breakout stars 2015, Rami Malek, Jussie Smollett, Alicia Vikander
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Our 12 Favorite Breakout Stars of 2015: Rami Malek, Jussie Smollett & More


2015 is winding down, and the actors and musicians on this list will likely be sorry to see it go after having such incredible years. Here are our favorite breakout stars from the past 12 months.

John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac

The Force is strong with this trio of new Star Wars stars. John and Daisy were plucked out of relative obscurity to star in what’s now the biggest movie in the galaxy; and even though Oscar had already starred in Inside Llewyn Davis, he got even more famous with roles Ex Machina, Show Me a Hero, and the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.

Jussie Smollett

Empire has had a very good year, particularly Jussie, who’s quickly rivaling Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson as the most bankable star of the FOX drama… especially with an album on the way!

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Rami Malek

Not only does Rami have the look to play a paranoid hacker wunderkind at the center of Mr. Robot — albeit a very hot hacker — he also has the acting chops, earning Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for the first season of the acclaimed USA drama.

Michael B. Jordan

Michael has been onscreen for the last 15 years — notably starring in Fruitvale Station — but this 28-year-old with the irresistible smile finally became a household name when he put on his boxing gloves for the Rocky spinoff Creed. He also ranked among the Fantastic Four, but… let’s move on.

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Leon Bridges

With a look and a sound evocative of the heyday of ‘60s soul, it’s easy to forget this Atlanta native is only 26. His debut album Coming Home got him a gig opening for Pharrell Williams, a guest appearance on a Macklemore & Ryan Lewis song, and airplay on an iPhone commercial.

Alicia Vikander

The Swedish girl from The Danish Girl, Alicia is topping off a banner year in which she also starred in Ex Machina, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Burnt. She’s even double-nominated for Golden Globes this year.

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The Weeknd

Not many people can make numbness sound appealing, but Toronto’s other music superstar dominated the charts and had us all on the dance floor with “Can’t Feel My Face” — and only proved his talent further with “Earned It” and “The Hills.”

Rachel Bloom

After working the comedy world for a while — on screen, on stage, and behind the scenes — Rachel finally bloomed into a bona fide star when she co-created and took the lead role in The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

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Fetty Wap

We may not understand his name entirely, but this New Jersey rapper is a Grammy favorite after his 2014 single “Trap Queen” finally went viral in May of this year, peaking at #2 on the Hot 100.

Scott Eastwood

Can Scott Eastwood match the legacy of papa Clint? He’s well on his way, with leading man potential on display in this year’s The Longest Ride and a buzzy part in the upcoming Suicide Squad. (Being the man of Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” doesn’t hurt, either.)

Time will tell who breaks out in 2016!