Actors and Actresses to watch
1. Elizabeth Olsen: The Olsen twins’ younger sister got a head start in 2011 with her impressive performance in “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and she’ll continue the momentum with “Liberal Arts,” written and directed by Josh Radnor. She’ll also appear in the horror flick “Silent House” (March 9) and paranormal thriller “Red Lights.”
2. Gina Carano: How does a mixed martial arts fighter end up as the lead in the Steven Soderbergh spy thriller, “Haywire”? She kicks ass, obviously.
3. Lily Collins: The spawn of “Sussudio” impresario Phil Collins already had her coming-out party in 2011 with roles in “Abduction” and “Priest.” This year the 22-year-old has a starring role in Tarsem Singh’s lighthearted take on the Snow White fairy tale in “Mirror Mirror” (March 16).
4. Andrea Riseborough: Thank Madonna for bringing this English Rose to the forefront in 2012. Riseborough will start off the year with the Madge-directed feature “W.E.” (Feb. 3). She’ll stay front of mind with IRA thriller “Shadow Dancer,” as well as “Disconnect,” co-starring “True Blood” babe Alexander Skarsgard.
5. Taylor Schilling: Though she may’ve been the lead in failed TV show “Mercy” and dead-on-arrival “Atlas Shrugged: Part One,” somebody in Hollywood must have faith in this 27-year-old in order to cast her opposite Zac Efron in the romantic drama “The Lucky One” (April 20). Schilling will also star in Ben Affleck-directed political thriller “Argo.”
6. Josh Hutcherson: This 19- year-old actor has been working steadily, but it’ll be the March 23 release of “The Hunger Games” that makes him a star. While we can’t promise he’ll be the next Robert Pattinson — RPatz will always have a special vampire lair in our hearts — the series’ rabid fan base will give Hutcherson a fast-pass to megastardom.
7. Michael Fassbender: We’re not going to hide our partiality to this 34-year-old Irish-German export. His upcoming spy flick, “Haywire” (Jan. 20), combined with all the awards season buzz he’s been getting for his performance in 2011’s “Shame” will propel Fassbender to A-List by the time his sci-fi film “Prometheus” is released on June 8.
8. Chris Diamantopoulos: We finally learned how to spell Galifianakis, so it’s about time another comedic actor with an impossibly lengthy Greek last name take the scene by storm. The “Up All Night” actor will soon star in “The Three Stooges” (April 13), in which he plays Moe, the only Stooge with a passable haircut.
9. Taylor Kitsch: The “Friday Night Lights” star appears in two huge movies this summer: the sci-fi epic “John Carter,” set on Mars, and “Battleship,” a live-action version of the popular board game.
10. Douglas Booth: Could the role of Romeo in the latest “Ro-meo and Juliet” turn Booth into another Leonardo DiCaprio? With a second starring role alongside Disney princess-turned-stoner Miley Cyrus in “LOL...,” well, we may have found our RPatz replace-ment after all.
New musicians to watch
1. Lana Del Rey
Del Rey released a video this summer that was so hot that every blogger in the world watched it back-to-back enough that they were all fighting to be the first to declare her passé by the next day. But for those of us who are just interested in good music, and care more about hearing it than hearing it first, Del Rey’s sultry take on gangsta will be a breath of fresh air when her debut drops at the end of this month.
2. King Krule
If you didn’t know that Archy Marshall was a fresh-faced 17-year-old, and you heard his patient beats, sophisticated guitar chords, moody words and his low London voice, you might think he was in his 30s and possibly was the type of character who accompanied Pete Doherty through every stint in rehab. But luckily for us, Marshall has many years ahead of him.
3. Azealia Banks
Imagine if Rihanna really was into sex as much as she sings about. And if Nicki Minaj was into Interpol! Then you might have an idea of the hot, hilarious awesomeness that is the 20-year-old Harlem native Azealia Banks.
4. Michael Kiwanuka
His song, “Tell Me a Tale,” sounds at first like a forgotten song from the 1970s, but once he gets to the chorus you’ll know that not only is this a song of the new decade, but one that will not be forgotten. The fact that he has released three EPs in the past 12 months should also be a testament to that.
New TV series to watch
1. ‘House of Lies’
The buzz: Oscar-winner Don Cheadle gets what he wants — by any means necessary — as cutthroat management consultant Marty Kaan, who charges America’s 1 percent for his high-priced advice (and the occasional night of strip club debauchery).
Why we’ll be watching: It’s fascinating to watch the serious, intense Cheadle morph into such a charismatic con man. Matching his wit is Kristen Bell as an ambitious member of Marty’s team.
Premieres Jan. 8 at 10 p.m. on Showtime.
The buzz: J.J. Abrams. Mysterious island. Hugo!
Why we’ll be watching: Alcatraz, the island prison off of San Francisco, already holds plenty of intrigue — and even more so in this drama when former inmates who were presumed dead become linked to modern crimes. Add the storytelling prowess of Abrams and familiar Lostie Jorge Garcia, and we’re already formulating conspiracy theories.
Premieres Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. on Fox.
The buzz: “Deadwood” creator David Milch is back on HBO. This time, he’s bringing Dustin Hoffman and director Michael Mann with him for a series on one of his passions: horse racing.
Why we’ll be watching: Simply put: Milch creates beautiful television (you just need a little patience when watching his densely layered epics). Add the allure of thoroughbreds, gambling and Oscar-winner Hoffman, and “Luck” is a sure bet.
Premieres Jan. 29 at 9 p.m. on HBO.
The buzz: “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee stars as a wannabe Broadway star who auditions for a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe. Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston also star.
Why we’ll be watching: Every network’s been trying to figure out how to mimic the success of “Glee” with their own musical series; NBC nails it with this behind-the-Broadway-scenes drama from Steven Spielberg. It’s going to be, well, a “Smash.”
Premieres Feb. 6 at 10 p.m. on NBC.
5. ‘The River’
The buzz: “Paranormal Activity” creator Oren Peli brings his mastery of “found footage” scares to the small screen.
Why we’ll be watching: The host of a nature series goes missing in the Amazon, so — cameras in tow — his wife and son go searching for him. If you’re not already creeped out by what’s lurking in those waters, the supernatural elements to this tale will provide plenty to shriek about. Steven Spielberg’s attached his name to this one, too.
Premieres Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. on ABC.