9. Lakeith Stanfield
This was a tough list to make because of the number of terrific actors that could have been on it, but one that I knew would be from the start is Lakeith Stanfield. It seems that every film he is a part of — Selma, Uncut Gems, Knives Out or alongside others on this list in Snowden and Get Out — turns out to be a critical success. The one caveat is that he has found a niche as a supporting actor, with Sorry to Bother You one of few exceptions. That, too, was a hit.
In looking across films, there is a common thread in Stanfield’s work. He takes on multi-dimensional characters, some ingrained in history, and brings nuance and mystery to them. Part of that stems from his past, where he worked odd jobs in hopes of keeping his acting career alive, and it is the range of experiences that have come to shape his on-screen acting today.
Star Wars would be quite a significant spotlight for Stanfield, but he seems to be slowly working toward it. The first step to joining Star Wars comes through Disney, and Stanfield will reportedly make his debut there with Tiffany Haddish in The Haunted Mansion.