Right now, Hollywood should be rethinking who their A-list actors are and why their C-list actors are not yet A-list stars. A-list actors mean those who are at the height of their fame, who have enough star power to open a movie, and aren't starring in back-to-back failures. Think Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, and Matt Damon to name a few.
Then there are A-list actors who have remained that way but should be demoted to C-list status because they have failed to deliver box-office hits for a while. These actors have remained in the spotlight not so much because of their acting efforts but because they are stalked by paparazzi and routinely have their pictures taken for People or US Weekly or any celeb blog. So it appears like they're still highly relevant in Hollywood. But look at George Clooney, for example. He hasn't had a hit in years and the last time he was visible on screen was when he starred in the ultimate box-office bomb, Tomorrowland. But to those in the industry, he's still an A-lister because he's remained in the finicky Hollywood spotlight.
Then there are C-list actors--those flying under the radar and aren't yet a household name--who deserve the A-list treatment. Think Chris Pratt. He turned from C to A seemingly overnight because his movie Guardians of the Galaxy was such a lucrative hit. So find out below who are the C-listers who deserve more attention and the A-listers who should be demoted. We guarantee you'll be surprised in what you find!
20 B to A-List: Elizabeth Olsen
Elizabeth Olsen is the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. While she has had some serious break-out roles, she remains in obscurity. But her scene-stealing performance playing Scarlet Witch in The Avengers franchise, allowed her to return to MCU in The Avengers: Infinity War for a meatier role while playing the same character. By the time Infinity War rolls out, she will blow up and turn herself from C-list actor living under the radar to an A-list actor living under the spotlight. And why not? Hollywood hasn't given her the credit she deserves.
After all, she played the lead in the critically-acclaimed and much-lauded movie, Martha Marcy May Marlene. The film, which garnered numerous critics’ awards launched a noteworthy career out of the gate. We can't wait to see her in Infinity War, especially how she handles being a newbie in a cinematic universe franchise starring the world's most famous A-list actors, from Scarlett Johansson to Robert Downey, Jr.
19 A to c-List: Kristen Stewart
Stewart gained fame by starring in The Twilight franchise, and she made a lot of money. She was at the top of her powers as an A-lister and no one noticed that she was making bad film choices because the Twilight franchise was spread around countless disappointments. And because those disappointments were movies no one ever saw, it looked like Stewart never lost her place in the spotlight.
But just look at the misses and you'll agree that Stewart is this close to losing her star power. Welcome to the Rileys (2010), On the Road (2012), Camp X-Ray, Anesthesia (2015), Certain Women (2016) and many, many others were all flops. In fact, if you take away Twilight, you take away Stewart. She is nothing without that franchise, and she has the movie credits to prove it. Now move over, because it's over.
18 B to A-List: Ansel Elgort
You'd think Ansel Elgort would be an A-list actor, but he's not. Still, if you look at his teenage fan base, he's a hot young star because he played the lead in The Fault in Our Stars. Fans who loved the book fell in love with the movie and then they fell in love with Elgort. It's hard to tell why Elgort is only C-worthy because his films prove otherwise. He had back-to-back movies that showed his range. He starred in Carrie, Men, Women & Children, and then followed up those by starring in all three of the Divergent series movies, which quadrupled his female fanbase.
The Fault in Our Stars was also a hit and in 2017 he was the title character in the action thriller Baby Driver. That movie should've made him an A-lister, as it was a huge hit. Baby Driver grossed over $100 million in the United States against a production budget of only $34 million. So where's the love? He's one of the few actors who have transitioned from teenage star into serious adult actor.
17 A to c-List: Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz's last movie to date is 2014's Annie. Since then, Diaz has taken some time off because she lost sight of who she was. She's still an A-list star, and Hollywood will no doubt sign her up again if she returns. That's because her box office receipts have totaled over $3 billion at the box office in America alone and until 2016 Diaz was actually the highest grossing actress domestically. But while this may be true, it's hard to ignore the fact that Diaz, before leaving Hollywood, has had back-to-back failures that would ultimately demote her to a C-lister, which is what we're advocating.
Gambit (2012) followed by The Counselor (2013) followed by the Other Woman (2014) followed by Sex Tape (2014) all bombed, and we believe the real reason she left Hollywood was that she was no longer getting the pick of the litter in roles. And it's more believable. Needing time for yourself doesn't take 5 years.
16 B to A-List: Tom Holland
Many of you don't know who Tom Holland is. But we guarantee you that he's going to be the breakout star of the year with the release of The Avengers: Infinity War. Right now, like other actors, he's hovering between being an A-lister and a C-lister. Infinity will change that. He's already successful for playing Spider-Man in Homecoming, but for a C-lister to turn into an A-lister he needs to have some serious acting chops and not just star in action hero movies where he has to emote with his body language because he's wearing the Spider-Man suit.
Holland is the complete package. He's not just an action hero. He's starred in some serious films, including the disaster drama The Impossible, where he and his screen family were caught in the midst of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. He received several accolades for his role.
15 A to c-List: George Clooney
These days, A-list star George Clooney is best known not for his body of work but for his marriage to Amal Alamuddin in 2014. Before they were even engaged, the power couple were courted 24/7 by the paparazzi and celeb magazines and websites couldn't get enough of them. It's easy to see how the brouhaha over Clooney could conceal the fact that the actor hasn't done any notable work to date, and that if it weren't for the paps, he would no longer be on Hollywood's radar.
In fact, Clooney should be knocked down to a C-list actor. Just ask yourself: what was the last Clooney movie you saw? His biggest hits were the Ocean movies, but that was way back in 2007. He had some luck with Up in the Air (2009), but his hits date back to the 2000s, where he starred in The Perfect Storm, Michael Clayton (2007) and the quirky O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000). But his biggest disaster to date was starring in the gargantuan flop Tomorrowland (2015). The film cost $330 million to produce and market, and the financial losses by Disney was between $120 to $140 million. So why is Clooney still an A-lister?
14 B to A-List: Jason Bateman
Jason Bateman was a childhood star who had a string of TV hits when he was young, including Silver Spoons. But when Spoons ended, he disappeared. But he did make a comeback starting in 2003 where he starred in the irreverent comedy Arrested Development. He played the lead, a straight man to his crazy (but funny) family, and the show was critically-acclaimed. It was canceled but later emerged as a cult classic.
So in 2013, Netflix ordered seasons of the beloved show. What we don't understand is why Bateman is not considered an A-list actor. He doesn't get the respect from Hollywood that he should because most of his movies starting in 2o06 were hits. He starred in The Break-Up (2006), The Switch (2010), The Change-Up, Identity Thief (2013) and the Horrible Bosses franchise (2011, 2014). We think Hollywood has not yet anointed him as a true A-lister is because he has not yet starred in a movie that shows his range as an actor.
13 A to c-List: Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage used to be the golden child of Hollywood. He had free rein over picking his roles and twelve of his movies that he starred in have earned over $100 million. 12 movies! Cage became an A-lister because he's made himself into a man of range. He can star in the quirky Adaptation, the heartbreaking Leaving Las Vegas, the comedy Raising Arizona, the over-the-top Face/Off where he held his own against once A-lister John Travolta, and the action films Ghostrider, National Treasure and Knowing.
In short, he can do it all. He also won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Leaving Las Vegas and a nomination for Adaptation. So how did Cage become a C-lister? He just doesn't have the box office power he used to have, despite making billions for Hollywood. Since 2014 and up to the present, he has made 23 back-to-back movies that were all flops.
12 B to A-List: Carey Mulligan
Carey Mulligan knocked it out of the ballpark in 2009 by starring in the critically-acclaimed An Education. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress but didn't win. But that role alone anointed her the status as one of Hollywood's most promising young actors. She then starred in Drive, which transformed her into an A-lister because it made a lot of money. A source at CAA said:
"There are very few British actresses in this [Mulligan's] age range who are as accomplished as Carey and who have a global presence. . . She has proved herself in An Education, is a powerful actress [who is] rawly emotional. As far as Hollywood is concerned she has already arrived. She is destined to be a major A-list star."
Then what happened? True, she now stars in Britain's TV show Collateral. But it was the Great Gatsby, which was a Hollywood disaster, that Mulligan's claim to fame started to fade, and that movie was the last time in which she appeared in a big-budget film. The fact that she backed Gatsby by a string of box-office bombs that no one saw-- Inside Llewyn Davis, Far From the Madding Crowd, Mudbound and Wildlife--didn't help. But we still wish she was an A-lister like before. She's wildly talented and deserves a second chance.
11 A to c-List: Will Smith
There was a time when Will Smith was a powerful mega-star who got to choose any role he wanted. He starred in hits like Men In Black and its sequel, Bad Boys and its sequel and his breakout hit, Six Degrees of Separation. These days, we don't know what Will Smith is doing wrong, as he's been making bad film choices as early as 2005. You don't believe us?
He has had back-to-back failures that include Hitch, the critically-panned The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Seven Pounds (2008), Men in Black 3 (2012, a big-budget commercial failure), the never seen After Earth (2013), Winter's Tale (2014), Focus (2015), the dour Concussion (2015) and the critical disaster Collateral Beauty (2016),which grossed only $31 million in the US against a production budget of $36 million.That all of these films failed means that Hollywood can no longer count on him to open a movie. 'Nuff said.
10 B to A-List: Emily VanCamp
Emily VanCamp is a TV actress who should've jumped to film long ago but didn't. Her first role in Everwood (2002-2006) made her one to watch, and she followed that hit by starring in the long-running drama Brothers & Sisters (2007-2010). But it was the campy Revenge (2011-2015) that really made her a star since the TV show was an instant hit.
When Revenge ended, she had a bit part starring as Sharon Carter in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War. Her role as Carter should've been expanded, but it didn't. And because it didn't, VanCamp then should've graduated to film, but for reasons unknown, she didn't. Instead, she's now starring in the medical drama The Resident. Surprisingly she's not an A-lister on TV, but she should be. She's smart and looks like the girl-next-door. Her many fight scenes in Revenge should've made her be considered for more screen time in the Captain American franchise.
9 A to c-List: Adam Sandler
We're sick of Adam Sandler. His man-child comedic schtick is now a thing of the past, as he's exhausted all the films where he has played that role. Sandler became an A-lister because he starred in Punch Drunk Love, where he proved he could play serious as well as comedic at the same time. Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer made people laugh.
But his recent movies, Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 received the worst reviews of his life. In a review in The Los Angeles Times, the reviewer compared Grown Ups 2 with Judd Apatow's This is 40 because both films are about middle-age anxiety told in a comedic way: "With the slack, lackadaisical effort of "Grown Ups 2," Sandler has perhaps revealed himself not as a confrere of Apatow, who directed him in "Funny People" to a performance both crude and soulful. Rather, he's the white Tyler Perry: smart enough to know better, savvy enough to do it anyway, lazy enough not to care." Yikes!
8 B to A-List: Sebastian Stan
We're not sure why Sebastian Stan is still living under the radar given that he's starred in all of the Captain America movies, including Avengers: Infinity War. For reasons we don't get, he's not considered a heavyweight with major star power the way his co-stars are.
His filmography is unblemished, and he has starred in critically-acclaimed movies like Rachel Getting Married and Black Swan. But most of all, he played lowlife Jeff Gillooly in the hit I, Tonya (2017), for which he was awarded the Hollywood Film Award for Ensemble of the Year. He was nominated for the Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Ensemble as well as the Indiana Film Journalists Association Award for Best Supporting Actor. You'd think his role would've made him a big star, but it didn't. So what does it take for him to move up?
7 A to c-Lister: Blake Lively
Blake Lively rose to fame when she starred in the hit teen drama Gossip Girl. When the show ended in 2012, she was one of the lucky TV stars to make the jump to movies. In the process, she somehow became an A-lister by playing the lead in The Age of Adaline (2015), a modest commercial success that grossed $54.5 million against a production budget of around $30 million.
Then she was in the hit horror movie The Shallows (2016) which revealed she could star in back-to-back hits. But that was her last success, and the only reason she has remained in the spotlight is that she's married to Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds and Blake together get a lot of publicity, and they're always on the red carpet dressed to the nines. But Blake would be nothing without Reynolds, as he's shining a light on her and not the other way around.
6 B to A-List: Paul Rudd
You would've thought that if you starred in a MCU movie, you'd automatically turn into an A-list actor. Then what happened to Paul Rudd? He starred in Ant-Man, and he also appeared in Captain America: Civil War. But he's still flying under the radar. The problem is, when you think of an MCU actor, you don't necessarily think of Paul Rudd. Instead, you think of Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson. But you should be thinking of Rudd because of his massive body of work, which are mostly comedies and which were all hits.
He starred in both Anchorman films, as well as Knocked Up (2007), Role Models (2008) and many more. There's a reason why he isn't being taken seriously. He's funny but he lacks range. He has never been in a serious drama that showed off his acting chops. And now that he's been typecast, it's going to be harder for him to move from B to A.
5 A to c-List: Angelina Jolie
We love that Angelina Jolie uses her star power as a means of promoting her extensive philanthropic work. But remind us why she's still considered an A-list actress? That's easy. It's only because when she was with Brad Pitt, the paparazzi stalked them and also because she led a high-profile life that kept her in gossip mags and blogs. That spotlight masqueraded the fact that Jolie has not starred in a hit movie for years.
Since when did the tabloids guarantee someone a near lifetime on the A-list? She was successful in the early 2000s. She won an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted, Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) was a major hit, and her role in the Lara Croft franchise proved she could open a movie. She was then in a string of movies that bombed until she landed opposite Brad Pitt in the commercially successful Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
4 B to A-List: Kat Dennings
Kat Dennings starred in Two Broke Girls for six seasons. The TV show should've put her on the A-list, but it never happened, despite the fact that the show was a hit and still holds the record for the richest cable syndication deal. But what's probably holding her back is her atrocious film choices, which are back-to-back failures. Have you heard of Suburban Gothic or Daydream Nation? Thought so.
Her small parts in Thor and Thor: The Dark World did nothing to raise her popularity. But her prospects are promising, as she will star in as yet untitled ABC show. ABC gushed over getting Dennings, as she was one of the most sought-after actors during this year's pilot season. So soon she'll be an A-lister. According to Deadline, Dennings had her pick of pilots and all the major studios wanted to work with her.
3 A to c-List: Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal proved to Hollywood that he could be a leading man because he starred in back-to-back hits in 2005. He was in the critically-acclaimed Jarhead, as well as the Oscar-darling Proof. But it was Brokeback Mountain (also in 2015) that won him unanimous praise from critics and was a box-office success. For his performance, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and also received other accolades. But it took Gyllenhaal a full five years to follow Mountain with another box-office success, the Prince of Persia. That was in 2010.
To this date Gyllenhaal hasn't followed Persia with another hit. That he's going to turn from A-List to B is not just because of his string of failures (Nocturnal Animals grossed only $10 mil) but also because he's the first A-list actor in Hollywood to star in a movie in 2011 that was so horrible that it was shelved for five years before it was released on VOD in 2015 to die a slow death.
2 B to A-List: Liam Hemsworth
If you think Liam Hemsworth plays Thor in all the MCU movies, you are confusing him for his brother, Chris. But it's an easy mistake to make. That's because Liam hasn't yet been defined by Hollywood, which is why he's a C-Lister. His brother Chris, for example, is an A-lister precisely because he's Thor.
But Liam should also be an A-lister too, as he has starred in such hits like The Last Song and Expendables 2. He's had his share of duds, but we're surprised Liam isn't getting the attention he deserves, especially when he starred in all the Hunger Games films.
1 A to c-List: Zac Efron
Zac Efron is an A-lister. There are many reasons why. He began acting in the early 200os, and he was instantly named a star (with a huge female fan base) for playing the lead in the High School Musical franchise (2006-2008). Many in Hollywood speculated how he would transition from playing a teenager to playing a mature adult. Efron did it gradually. He played another teen in the hit movie musical Hairspray (2007), which showed off his singing and dancing that he picked up from HSM. He followed that with 17 Again which, while not being a mega-hit, made enough to be a success. And then he hit it big with The Lucky One, which made nearly 100 million against a 25 million budget.
But then things changed. He started going to the gym and then all of the films he starred in required him to flaunt his body, starting in That Awkward Moment (2014) and Neighbors (2014), where he went shirtless. He had a shower scene in We Are Your Friends (2015), and again was shirtless in both Dirty Grandpa (2016) and Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016). Then, in the box office bomb, Baywatch (2017), he was pretty much shirtless throughout the movie. Because Efron believes and fully embraces that his hot bod and good looks will be enough to propel him through to superstardom, he should immediately vacate his seat as an A-lister.
References: BoxOfficeMojo, IMBD, CinemaBlend
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