AP names its Breakthrough Entertainers of 2018
A scene-stealer from "Crazy Rich Asians." A teen actress who brought aching realism to a movie about adolescence. A boundary-breaking country star. And a comedian who used everything from laughter to rage to make a searing statement on women and society.
2018 Breakthrough: Awkwafina of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Awkwafina became a household name this summer, stealing scenes from the likes of Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock in the heist movie "Ocean's 8" and then as a standout in the cultural phenomenon that was "Crazy Rich Asians."
But even considering her blockbuster summer, the 29-year-old New York native, born Nora Lum, whose dad wanted her to be an air traffic controller, still feels pretty normal.
PHOTO GALLERY: Awkwafina - AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018
AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018: Awkwafina
2018 Breakthrough: Hannah Gadsby may change stand-up game
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hannah Gadsby says she knows it's meant as a compliment to be chosen as one of the year's Breakthrough Entertainers by The Associated Press. But, as with many things, the Australian stand-up comic and actress sees the honor from a variety of perspectives.
AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018: Hannah Gadsby
PHOTO GALLERY: Hannah Gadsby - AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018
2018 Breakthrough: Henry Golding of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even though Henry Golding garnered instant fame from starring in the smash hit "Crazy Rich Asians," the British-Malaysian actor isn't sure if he'll ever eclipse his meteoric success in the box-office hit.
"I don't know how I'm going to top this year. It's all downhill from here," he told The Associated Press recently, with a twinge of sarcasm.
PHOTO GALLERY: Henry Golding - AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018
- AP names its Breakthrough Entertainers of 2018
- 2018 Breakthrough: John David Washington, 'Black KkKlansman'
- 2018 Breakthrough Entertainer: 'Boo'd Up' singer Ella Mai
- AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018: Natasha Rothwell
- 2018 Breakthrough: Henry Golding of 'Crazy Rich Asians'
- Breakthrough Entertainer: 'Insecure' star Natasha Rothwell
- PHOTO GALLERY: Henry Golding - AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018
- 2018 Breakthrough Entertainer: Country singer Kane Brown
- PHOTO GALLERY: Elsie Fisher - AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018
- PHOTO GALLERY - John David Washington
- AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018: Henry Golding
- 2018 Breakthrough: Elsie Fisher of 'Eighth Grade'
2017 Breakthrough: Bianca Lawson of ‘Queen Sugar’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Now more than ever, "Queen Sugar" actress Bianca Lawson is thankful to work on a nurturing, female-led set helmed by Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey.
"It's a gift because now you're hearing about all the stories," said Lawson, referencing the barrage of sexual harassment allegations rocking the entertainment industry. "It's like, wow, it's this prevalent? It makes you even more grateful to be on a set where you feel so safe, so taken care of."
PHOTO GALLERY: SZA
PHOTO GALLERY: Patty Jenkins
2017 Breakthrough: ‘Wonder Woman’ director Patty Jenkins
NEW YORK (AP) — Some people have breakout years. Director Patty Jenkins had one with "Monster" in 2003, a movie that earned Charlize Theron a best actress Academy Award.
2017 Breakthrough: Singer SZA is sizzling in music industry
NEW YORK (AP) — Yes, SZA is easily in the running for best new act of 2017. But her uber-successful year really puts her in the running for female artist of the year: She's had multiple songs chart in the Top 40 in a year when male acts overwhelming dominated, and she's the most nominated woman at the upcoming Grammy Awards with five.
"It's wild. It's awesome. ... Like, I'm in awe. Like, in full blown awe," said SZA, competing for honors like best new artist and best urban contemporary album.
AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2017
For the first time, The Associated Press is spotlighting key entertainers who had that breakthrough moment in 2017. The Breakthrough Entertainers includes relative newcomers, such as actors Beanie Feldstein, Millicent Simmonds, Daniel Kayuula, Brooklynn Prince and singer-songwriter SZA. But it also includes established names _ director Patty Jenkins, actress Bianca Lawson and actor-writer Kumail Nanjiani _ who had a transformative year that took them to another level.
AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018: Henry Golding
2018 Breakthrough: John David Washington, ‘Black KkKlansman’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — John David Washington comes from a strong acting lineage, but he has carved out his own identity as a powerful actor, earning a Golden Globe nomination and generating Oscar buzz for his standout role in Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman."
PHOTO GALLERY - John David Washington
AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018: John David Washington
2018 Breakthrough Entertainer: Country singer Kane Brown
NEW YORK (AP) — Kane Brown wasn't sure he was going to make it. But there was one thing he was certain about: He was never going to give up.
The singer from humble beginnings has become one of the brightest new singers in music and arguably country music's most successful act of the year, and has been named one of The Associated Press' Breakthrough Entertainers of 2018 .
PHOTO GALLERY: Kane Brown - AP Breakthrough Entertainers
AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018: Kane Brown
Breakthrough Entertainer: ‘Insecure’ star Natasha Rothwell
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Natasha Rothwell claims she is shy in real life, but her scene-stealing supporting roles in HBO's hit show "Insecure" and the film "Love, Simon" have proven otherwise.
Rothwell's outspoken TV character, Kelli, shines with witty one-liners and brash behavior, sometimes even more than "Insecure" series' star Issa Rae.
PHOTO GALLERY: Natasha Rothwell - AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018
AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018: Natasha Rothwell
2018 Breakthrough Entertainer: ‘Boo’d Up’ singer Ella Mai
NEW YORK (AP) — Singer Ella Mai appreciates how much "Boo'd Up" has changed her life and jumpstarted her music career, but she wants to make one thing clear: "I know how to make songs. I'm not the 'Boo'd Up' girl."
PHOTO GALLERY: Ella Mai - AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018
AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018: Ella Mai
2018 Breakthrough: Elsie Fisher of ‘Eighth Grade’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Elsie Fisher was about to give up on acting right before Bo Burnham's coming-of-age project "Eighth Grade" came on her radar, and it's a good thing she decided to take one last chance.
PHOTO GALLERY: Elsie Fisher - AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018
AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018: Elsie Fisher
The AP names its Breakthrough Entertainers of 2017
The overnight success story in Hollywood is as much of a fairytale as its movies. Years of training, sacrifice and failed attempts at stardom typically define the experience of entertainers before that breakthrough moment occurs.
But when it happens, things change overnight — as Daniel Kayuula found after he starred in "Get Out." He went from playing bit parts in movies to having deep conversations about race with total strangers at music festivals.
2017 Breakthrough: Kumail Nanjiani of ‘The Big Sick’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — "The Big Sick" star Kumail Nanjiani is heading into awards season with a mix of fear and excitement.
After grossing nearly $43 million at the box office, the charming crowd-pleaser picked up two Film Independent Spirit Award nominations and is considered a front-runner for Academy Award nods.
"It's very scary. It's not something that we had really considered at all," said Nanjiani of his film's Oscar buzz. "It's cool to be in the conversation with so many great movies."
PHOTO GALLERY: Kumail Nanjiani
PHOTO GALLERY: Daniel Kaluuya
2017 Breakthrough: ‘Get Out’ star Daniel Kaluuya
NEW YORK (AP) — When Daniel Kaluuya read Jordan Peele's script for "Get Out," he had one question: "Are you allowed to make films like this?"
2017 Breakthrough: Beanie Feldstein of ‘Lady Bird’
NEW YORK (AP) — Beanie Feldstein was a Broadway buff since she was a kid. She was obsessed with musicals, hung with the "theater crowd" in high school and spent years watching shows on the Great White Way. So when she was cast opposite Bette Midler in the revival of "Hello, Dolly," she had already hit a career milestone.
PHOTO GALLERY: Beanie Feldstein
2017 Breakthrough: Millicent Simmonds of ‘Wonderstruck’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adjusting to life in the spotlight has been quite a transition for Hollywood newcomer Millicent Simmonds. The 14-year-old deaf actress, who earned rave reviews for her breakout role in Todd Haynes' "Wonderstruck," said being away from her family in Utah has been one of the toughest challenges.
"It's a new world for somebody who's going through this, so you have to get used to both things that happen to you — both the good and the bad," said Simmonds during a recent interview.
PHOTO GALLERY: Millicent Simmonds
2017 Breakthrough: Brooklynn Prince of ‘The Florida Project’
NEW YORK (AP) — Seven-year-old Brooklynn Prince is sitting in a darkened TV studio with lights, cameras and control panels all around her. "Mission to Mars, mission to Mars," she says. "This is Apollo."
PHOTO GALLERY: Brooklyn Prince
- 2017 Breakthrough: 'Wonder Woman' director Patty Jenkins
- Patty Jenkins: AP's 2017 Breakthrough Entertainers
- The AP names its Breakthrough Entertainers of 2017
- 2017 Breakthrough: Singer SZA is sizzling in music industry
- SZA: AP's 2017 Breakthrough Entertainers
- 2017 Breakthrough: Kumail Nanjiani of 'The Big Sick'
- Kumail Nanjiani: AP's 2017 Breakthrough Entertainers
- 2017 Breakthrough: 'Get Out' star Daniel Kaluuya
- 'Get Out' star Daniel Kaluuya talks 'life changing year'
- 2017 Breakthrough: Beanie Feldstein of 'Lady Bird'
- Beanie Feldstein: AP's 2017 Breakthrough Entertainers
- 2017 Breakthrough: Brooklynn Prince of 'The Florida Project'
- Young actress on life after 'The Florida Project'
- 2017 Breakthrough: Bianca Lawson of 'Queen Sugar'
- Breakthrough Entertainer Bianca Lawson
- 2017 Breakthrough: Millicent Simmonds of 'Wonderstruck'
- Millicent Simmonds: AP's 2017 Breakthrough Entertainers
- PHOTO GALLERY: Kumail Nanjiani
- PHOTO GALLERY: Brooklyn Prince