#8: David Oyelowo
For years Oyelowo bled into the background of movies that weren't about him, turning in nuanced supporting work in everything from The Last King of Scotland to The Help. But he kicked off 2012 with a lead, in the little-seen World War II pilot drama Red Tails, and followed it up with an astonishing variety of roles-- the buttoned-up British report in Lee Daniels's The Paperboy, the defiant soldier talking to the President at the beginning of Lincoln, the skeptical district attorney in Jack Reacher, and most movingly, the sweet-natured love interest in the indie Middle of Nowhere. Oyelowo isn't a household name yet, but this year he was absolutely impossible to ignore.

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