This past weekend has seen A Star Is Born catapulted into the Oscar race, Lady Gaga has all but secured a Best Actress nomination, and the movie has begun to make a dent on the pop charts, too.
Lady Gaga’s critically acclaimed turn in the Bradley Cooper film has added another success story to pop stars turning to acting, and today we’re here to talk other success stories.
Imagine if Diana Vickers from the X-Factor 2008 won an Oscar.
Jennifer Hudson did pretty much the same thing in real life.
Finishing 7th on American Idol is somewhat of a litmus test for a glittering career in the entertainment world, but winning an Oscar for your screen debut and beating out Cate Blanchett in the process?
That’s the sign of a true star right there.
She is now a judge on The Voice USA, is part of the new film adaptation of Cats alongside Ian McKellen and sentient talent black hole James Corden, with the film being directed by Oscar-winner Tom Hopper.
Her most lasting legacy, however?
This late 2000’s banger that way too many people forget about:
It seems like Justin Timberlake has been around forever, and a quick look at his filmography tells us that he’s been in movies as long as he’s been on the charts.
Perhaps the peak of his acting career came when he was third-billed in David Fincher’s The Social Network, a movie that I maintain was the rightful Best Picture winner of 2010 and one of Fincher’s best.
He had a hot streak in 2011, appearing in Friends With Benefits with Mila Kunis, In Time with Amanda Seyfried, and Bad Teacher with Cameron Diaz.
While those movies hardly made a dent in the public conscious, he’s quite good in all three, showing he can do high concept sci-fi along with goofier comedy.
On that sci-fi note, he also played a prominent role in Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko follow-up Southland Tales.
Southland Tales is a flawed masterpiece that everyone reading this article should watch right now, so that they can see how demented it is.
Is Justin Timberlake as talented an actor as he is a musician? Not quite, but he’s quite close, and working for David Fincher, Jonathan Demme, and The Coen Brothers shows that he’s respected enough within the film industry to work with the most prominent directors.
It’s almost cheating putting Will Smith on this article, but not including him on this list would be as unforgivable as Will Smith himself turning down the role of Neo in The Matrix to do Wild Wild West.
We may have missed out on Will Smith doing bullet kung-fu, but at least we got this banger out of the deal.
Of course, Will Smith was one of the early success stories in hip-hop and played a large part in making the genre the behemoth it is today.
Will Smith hasn’t had a bad career in front of the camera, either.
It’s redundant of me to list the movies he’s been in, so instead, I’ll throw out this argument:
Will Smith was Hollywood’s first global megastar in the internet era.
His career went meteoric in the late 90’s with Independence Day and Men in Black, and by the end of the 2000’s people turned out in droves to see Seven Pounds, a melodrama where jellyfish poisoning is a plot point, all because people knew Will Smith was the star.
Outside of superhero movies, I defy you to name me an actor or actress that will put bums in seats on opening weekend in 2018.
While Will Smith’s 2010’s output has been frankly laughable (I swear these articles are just a chance for me to lament Bright’s existence) he is the lead in Ang Lee’s new thriller, Gemini Man.
If one of cinema’s most influential and cutting-edge directors still has faith in Will Smith after all these years, then who am I to judge?
Where do we start with Cher?
She’s had a career since the early 1960’s and just this week sold over 100,000 physical copies in the United States alone of her ABBA cover album.
The only major award she hasn’t won is a Tony award, and even then, it would be hard to imagine a stage role she wouldn’t lend her gravitas to at this stage.
In Hollywood, the term “stunt casting” is used when the producers of a film cast an obvious big name in one of the roles.
Who do you get to play the role of Donna because Meryl Streep is unavailable?
The other elderly stateswoman of cinema, of course.
This premise has never been more applicable than Cher’s appearance in the aforementioned Mamma Mia sequel this summer.
Sometimes clichés are there for a reason, and the gamble paid off handsomely.
Of course, Cher’s career isn’t just limited to single-handedly elevating two-star movies into four-star movies; she also won an Oscar in 1988 for Moonstruck, a cracking romantic comedy where Nicolas Cage is her love interest.
1988 was also the year that Dirty Dancing and David Byrne from Talking Heads won music Oscars, further cementing my belief that 1988 was the greatest year in human history.
By Mike Finnerty