A fairy tale princess, a gadget guru and an outrageous a cappella singer walked into a theater … and entertained the pants off of us.
Of course, this character cabal wouldn’t have been what it was if not for the breakout performances of Lily Collins, Ben Whishaw and Rebel Wilson — just a few of the fresh film faces we met in 2012. And as the year comes to a close, MTV News is reflecting on the dozen Hollywood noobs who made the marquee shine just that much brighter. Check out our list and leave your own in the comments below.
Role: The 23-year-old daughter of Phil Collins carved out her own path in Hollywood with roles in “The Blind Side” and “Abduction,” but it was her turn as Snow White in Tarsem Singh’s kaleidoscopic “Mirror Mirror” that left a real impression.
Up Next: Collins will star as a Brooklyn teen who uncovers her family’s mysterious history destroying demons in the big-screen adaptation of “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” hitting theaters August 23, 2013.
Role: Floppy-haired Brit Ben Whishaw hit big Stateside this year in a pair of films: The Wachowski’s era-spanning drama “Cloud Atlas” and the latest Bond romp “Skyfall,” though it will likely be Whishaw’s tech-savvy quartermaster Q who will leave the most indelible impression. After all, he can do more damage on his laptop sitting in his pajamas before his first cup of Earl Grey than 007 can do in a year in the field.
Up Next: Whishaw can currently be seen in the second season of the BBC’s winning period drama “The Hour.” He’ll next star alongside Matt Damon in 2013’s “The Zero Theorem,” and is rumored to be circling a role in Steven Spielberg’s “Robopocalypse.”
Role: The Aussie’s outsized sense of humor was only hinted at in “Bridesmaids” — it took the role of Fat Amy in the aca-awesome musical comedy “Pitch Perfect” to get everyone singing along.
Up Next: Wilson has several encore performances arranged, including “Pain & Gain,” starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, and “Super Fun Night” (which she wrote), co-starring “Pitch Perfect” castmate Anna Camp.
Role: Something of a TV veteran with roles in HBO’s “In Treatment” and “True Blood,” Dane DeHaan blew up the big screen this year in “Jack and Diane,” “Lawless” and “Lincoln,” but it was his turn as telekinetic teen Andrew in the sci-fi film “Chronicle” that caught the industry’s eye.
Up Next: DeHaan has a number of high-profile projects lined up, including “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” in which he’ll play Peter Parker’s frenemy Harry Osborn.
Role: As undercover operative Mallory Kane in Steven Soderbergh’s action thriller “Haywire,” Carano, a mixed martial artist and former “American Gladiator,” was all grit and glam in a role that threw her in the faces of Michael Fassbender and Channing Tatum. Do we even need to tell you who came out on top?
Up Next: The 30-year-old will get “Fast and Furious” in the franchise’s sixth installment, before beating up a bunch more guys for “In the Blood.”
Role: The 21-year-old embodied the quintessential high-schooler with a house party gone awry in “Project X.” Seriously, very, very awry.
Up Next: Things will get magical for Mann in 2013 with roles in the fairytale redux “Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters” and the big-screen adaptation of “Beautiful Creatures.”
Role: Beautiful Berenice Marlohe joined a rarified group of women — including Halle Berry, Jane Seymour and Famke Janssen — who can call themselves Bond girls, having romanced Daniel Craig in the latest 007 actioner “Skyfall.” And, we should add, did it while flaunting what will likely be one of the most iconic black dresses of all time.
Up Next: The French actress joins half of Hollywood (Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman and Rooney Mara, just to name a few) in Terrence Malick’s untitled project, currently in production.
Role: The dashing Sam Claflin had already buckled our swash in 2011’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” but he really made a splash as the princess’ boyhood friend William in 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” opposite Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth.
Up Next: Quieting months — if not years — of speculation, Claflin landed the highly coveted role of Panem’s hottest trident-wielder, Finnick Odair, in “The Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire,” out November 22, 2013.
Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward
Role: The adorable pair charmed the socks off movie goers this year as star-crossed sweethearts Sam and Suzy in Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom.”
Up Next: Gilman has yet to line up another project, while Hayward will star in “The Sisterhood of Night.”
Role: Little Quvenzhane Wallis melted hearts (and spurred plenty of awards-season speculation) with her role as Hushpuppy in the fantastical “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”
Up Next: Wallis, along with “Beasts” father Dwight Henry, will appear in Steven McQueen’s “Twelve Years a Slave,” starring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender.
Role: The Indian teen had no acting experience when he landed the title role in Ang Lee’s picturesque epic “Life of Pi,” following a boy marooned in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger.
Up Next: College. The 19-year-old is currently studying philosophy at St. Stephen’s College in New Delhi, though he hopes to make more movies in the future.
Suggest other fresh faces of 2012 film in the comments!
“The Big & Best of 2012: A Year End Celebration Presented by T-Mobile” goes LIVE at 12 p.m. ET on 12/12/12. Watch at BigAndBestOf2012.com for eight hours of live performances from stars like Bruno Mars and Miguel, surprise guest appearances, prize giveaways, special editions of “RapFix Live,” “Big Morning Buzz Live,” “MTV After Hours,” “You Oughta Know” and much more!