Top 10 Breakout Stars of 2019

by IMDb-Editors | last updated - 1 month ago

It's time to count down the stars who enjoyed dramatic success in the past year. Among the select group of stars who charted on IMDb's annual Top 100 list for the first time in their careers in 2019, these 10 stars consistently ranked the highest on the IMDbPro's weekly STARmeter chart throughout the year. STARmeter rankings are based on the actual pageviews of IMDb's more than 200 million unique monthly visitors.

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Lucy Boynton at an event for The Politician (2019)

10. Lucy Boynton

If you’re an avid Netflix watcher, you might recognize Breakout Star Lucy Boynton from one of her many outings on the streaming network. In 2017 she starred on the Netflix thriller series "Gypsy" alongside Naomi Watts, the following year she appeared in the Netflix horror film, Apostle, and most recently she stars as the main rival Astrid Sloan in Ryan Murphy’s first Netflix outing, "The Politician." And if you’re not just watching Netflix, you might know her from her role as Mary Austin in Bohemian Rhapsody. As she's in talks to take on the role of rock icon Marianne Faithful in an upcoming biopic, we expect to see her back in our Top 10 Stars list in the near future.

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Maya Hawke

9. Maya Hawke

Maya Hawke had a breakout 2019, appearing in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and stealing the show as Robin in Season 3 of "Stranger Things." It would be easy to say it all runs in the family (She's the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman!), but Hawke's performances stand alone. You'll see her again in 2020 in Human Capital (with Marisa Tomei and Liev Schreiber) and Mainstream (with Jason Schwartzman and Andrew Garfield). Plus, with another season of "Stranger Things" in the works, there's hope we'll all get to see our favorite Scoops Ahoy employee back in action soon.

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Emma Mackey

8. Emma Mackey

On "Sex Education," Maeve Wiley is the subject of countless rumors. In real life, actress Emma Mackey became one of the top stars on IMDb thanks to Maeve's dark sense of humor, impeccable taste in music, and oversized heart. Mackey has parlayed her breakout role to a big-screen appearance in Death on the Nile, the sequel to Murder on the Orient Express.

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Isabela Merced at an event for Let It Snow (2019)

7. Isabela Merced

Isabela Merced has appeared in franchise favorites before (including roles in Sicario: Day of the Soldado and Transformers: The Last Knight), but 2019 was the year she found a treasure of her own in Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Whether or not we'll get a sequel is unknown, but we're ready to see more of Merced on the big screen after her humorous and heartfelt turn in the live-action adaptation.

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Margaret Qualley

6. Margaret Qualley

If you think the sole reason for Margaret Qualley's meteoric rise was due to her small but memorable role as a Manson cult member in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, time to think again. Qualley's breakout year also included an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Broadway legend Ann Reinking, and roles in Sundance hit Native Son and alongside Kristen Stewart in Seberg. Next on the horizon for Qualley are starring roles in book adaptations My Salinger Year and The Chain.

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Elizabeth Lail

5. Elizabeth Lail

Sleeper series turned megahit "You" led to Elizabeth Lail's IMDb breakout as Guinevere Beck, her character on the Netflix thriller, spent 10 episodes falling for — how do we say this without spoilers — one truly nefarious bookstore manager. And while fans hope Beck might appear in any form as Season 2 premieres at the end of 2019, Lail seems to have embraced the genre; she faced certain peril in Countdown this past fall.

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Rosa Salazar

4. Rosa Salazar

Rosa Salazar deserves a little credit. She not only achieved breakout status in 2019, but did so largely on the merits of roles where she never appeared on screen in the flesh. She kicked off the year as a computer-generated cyborg in Alita: Battle Angel and quickly rose in name recognition, building on a resume that included 2018's Bird Box and the Maze Runner franchise. Later in the year she starred in "Undone," a mind-bending animated series co-starring Bob Odenkirk. Salazar's talent and versatility are real, and we can't wait to see what she does next.

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Zachary Levi at an event for Shazam! (2019)

3. Zachary Levi

Zachary Levi has had an impressive and varied career, from his epic run as geek-turned-superspy in "Chuck," to an Asgardian warrior in Thor: The Dark World, and Ragnarok, but it was Levi’s role in Shazam! as teen-turned-superhero in the kid-friendly adventure movie that catapulted him into the top echelon of IMDb's STARmeter in 2019. This year wasn’t all about superheroes for Levi though; he lent his voice to the videogame "Kingdom Hearts III" as Flynn Rider and reprised his role as Eugene in "Tangled: The Series."

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Dacre Montgomery

2. Dacre Montgomery

Possession never looked so good as it did on Billy Hargrove in "Stranger Things" Season 3. With a little help from the Mind Flayer, Dacre Montgomery transformed Billy from a bully into a antihero during his time on Netflix's juggernaut series, turning many a head as he strode over to his lifeguard perch at the Hawkins Community Pool. Having initially made his mark as the Red Ranger, Montgomery will next be seen in The Broken Heart Gallery, an indie romantic comedy that serves as "Gossip Girl" writer Natalie Krinsky's directorial debut.

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Erin Moriarty at an event for The Boys (2019)

1. Erin Moriarty

Erin Moriarty lit up the top of our Breakout Stars list in 2019 thanks to her super turn as Starlight in "The Boys." In a world filled with superhero adaptations, "The Boys" stood out for its gritty take on the genre, and Moriarty rose above the rest with a performance showing superstrength both in and out of costume. Season 2 can't get here soon enough.



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