2015 in Movies: Our Six Favorite Breakout Actors and Actresses

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This year was filled with amazing new movies featuring actors and actresses we may never have seen before.

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From the massive hype around Fifty Shades of Grey to the highly-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens, some of 2015’s most buzzed-about films transformed lesser-known actors and actresses into household names.

Here are our six favorite breakout actors and actresses of 2015!

Lily James
CREDIT: AKM-GSI

6. Lily James

Lily James nabbed the iconic role of Cinderella in 2015’s revival of the classic fairy tale. And she not only surprised us with her acting chops, but her princess-inspired wardrobe on the red carpet while promoting the film really blew us away.

The 26-year-old English actress appeared on the hit series Downton Abbey, for which she and the cast won a Screen Actor’s Guild award for best performance by an ensemble drama series this year, and it has been nothing but good news for Lily ever since– she was nominated for a People’s Choice Award for her role in Cinderella, and also nabbed Harper’s Bazaar’s Breakthrough Award.

We’re looking forward to seeing more of Lily in the upcoming film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, as well as the action comedy Baby Driver with Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm.

5. Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan
CREDIT: FameFlynet Pictures

Jamie Dornan shot to instant fame when it was announced last year that he would be starring in Fifty Shades of Grey as the mysterious and sultry Christian Grey. But even he admitted he wasn’t taking too well to his heart throb status. The 33-year-old English actor says he avoids Twitter, but we think he should probably get used to fame.

He’s currently starring in the BBC series The Fall, and has signed on to do two more Fifty Shades movies: Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

John Boyega
CREDIT: FameFlynet Pictures

4. John Boyega

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been one of the most highly-anticipated movies in recent memory. So, when John Boyega appeared in the first trailer for the film, people couldn’t stop talking about him. Although The Force Awakens doesn’t hit theaters until later this month, John will undoubtedly shoot to stardom upon its release.

The 23-year-old actor is probably best known for his role in the British sci-fi comedy film, Attack the Block, which received a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. We’ve no doubt that after J.J. Abrams’ sequel hits theaters, everyone will know his name.

3. Alicia Vikander

Alicia Vikander
CREDIT: AKM-GSI

After the critically-acclaimed Ex Machina hit theaters, everyone was left wondering who the amazing actress was that played Ava. Alicia Vikander has certainly made her grand entrance into Hollywood, and has more exciting films on the horizon.

The 27-year-old Swedish actress has since took starring roles in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Burnt, and is currently making the rounds promoting her film The Danish Girl with Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne.

Daisy Ridley
CREDIT: FameFlynet Pictures

2. Daisy Ridley

Remember when we mentioned Star Wars: The Force Awakens before, when we were talking about John Boyega? Same thing goes for Daisy Ridley, and what a heck of a first film for her to star in. The actress nabbed the role just like anyone else– by auditioning for the part for JJ Abrams. And luckily, she’s had guidance from Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher, when it comes to handling Star Wars fame.

Since word broke that she’d be in the film, Daisy’s been covering magazines and doing interviews ever since. We can’t wait to see how Daisy’s career takes off in the years to come.

Dakota Johnson
CREDIT: AKM-GSI

1. Dakota Johnson

Ever since enduring the media firestorm that revolved around Fifty Shades of Grey, we’ve been seeing Dakota Johnson everywhere we turn. Whether she’s starring alongside Johnny Depp in Black Mass, or in the upcoming comedy How to be Single, it’s clear Dakota’s career is really taking off.

She was awarded Elle Women in Hollywood’s Spotlight Award earlier this year, and it’s clear Dakota has stepped into leading-lady territory.

Launch the gallery above to see our six favorite breakout actors and actresses of 2015!