The 2010s, or whatever we’re calling them, are about over. In just a couple of months we start a whole new decade. It all feels so fresh, but a lot has happened. In fact, there are a lot of people who became famous just in the last decade. The 2010s, like every decade before it, has its superstars. Here are 25 of the biggest. What will the new decade have in store for them?
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Lawrence got her first critical love in 2010 when she was nominated for an Oscar for the little-seen drama “Winter’s Bone." A few years later, she was the second-youngest person to win the Best Actress Oscar. Oh, also she starred in the “Hunger Games” movies and played Mystique in the “X-Men” while generally being famous and beloved.
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If you saw Pratt in the first season of “Parks and Recreation,” you probably didn’t think, “there’s a future superhero!” You would have been wrong! He became Star-Lord in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He starred in two “Jurassic World” films. And of course, he continued to be a key part of the “Parks and Rec” ensemble until the show came to a close. That’s dedication.
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It’s always fun when you see somebody in a small role on a TV show, like them, and then see them blow up. Maybe you first saw Larson in her couple of episodes on “Community,” or as the daughter on “United States of Tara.” You definitely know her now, though, either from her Oscar-winning turn in “Room” or for the fact that she’s Captain Marvel now.
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A lot of celebrities changed their names to make them easier to write or pronounce. Benedict Cumberbatch did not make that choice. He first began to emerge as a star thanks to playing the titular character on BBC’s “Sherlock.” Then came “Doctor Strange,” and once you star in a Marvel movie, there’s no going back.
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Waller-Bridge had appeared in some small roles and done some short films and recurring TV work for the first half of the decade. Then came “Fleabag.” Suddenly, Waller-Bridge was the next big thing. Now she has the Emmys to show off her new-found stardom.
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“Inside Llewyn Davis” is not generally one of the most-beloved Coen Brothers film — it’s no “The Big Lebowski” for example — but it is still quite good. That’s mostly thanks to the performance at the center from a then-unknown actor named Oscar Isaac. While he was also great in “Ex Machina,” the stardom came when Isaac was cast as Poe Dameron in the new “Star Wars” trilogy. On top of that, he played the titular Apocalypse in “X-Men: Apocalypse” and will surely do more great things in the future.
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Stone started catching people’s eye in supporting roles in movies like “The House Bunny” and “Zombieland” before the turn of the decade. Then in 2010, Stone took a big leap by starring in “Easy A.” It didn’t make her a huge, household name, but that Oscar for Best Actress in “La La Land” definitely did.
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The TV show “Girls” was our first time seeing a lot of people who have now became known, if not stars. It was none of the women who emerged as the brightest star, though. That would be Driver, who shines in just about everything he does. That includes, of course, in his role as Kylo Ren in the “Star Wars” films.
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Turner was only a teenager when she began acting in “Game of Thrones.” She wasn’t the biggest name on the show then, but she may very well be the biggest name from the show as it ends. Peter Dinklage has the Emmys, but Turner has the fame and renown. Marrying a Jonas Brother helped, of course.
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“Community” starred Joel McHale, who was already kind of a known quantity, and it got pitched as Chevy Chase’s return to TV. That ensemble was quite talented, but the name that has really leaped out from the cast is a guy who was a total unknown at the time, and that’s Glover. Or perhaps you know him better under his musical alter ego Childish Gambino. Glover also got a ton of attention from “Atlanta,” the hit FX show built around his personal ethos.
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A lot of people on this list are on the younger side. That makes sense. They became stars in the 2010s because they were kids before that. McCarthy is a slightly different story. She turned 40 in 2010, the year her sitcom “Mike and Molly” started. The next year, McCarthy stole the show in “Bridesmaids,” and now she’s a straight-up movie star.
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Maybe the “Fantastic Beasts” movies aren’t quite as popular as the “Harry Potter” films, but they still bring in a ton of cash. Redmayne is at the center of those films. Plus, he won an Oscar for playing Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” and was nominated again for “The Danish Girl.” Let’s maybe try and forget “Jupiter Ascending,” though.
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Schumer was a standup in the early part of the decade, but the biggest things she had done was pop up on a couple of Comedy Central roasts. Apparently something about her barbs for Charlie Sheen got the network’s attention, because they gave her a sketch show, “Inside Amy Schumer.” So began her rise to stardom, which included her own Judd Apatow vehicle, “Trainwreck.”
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Malek’s name was unknown when he got the starring role in “Mr. Robot” on USA (though he was good in a small supporting role in “The Master”). Then he won an Emmy. The next thing we knew, he was playing Freddie Mercury in a biopic and was winning an Oscar. He’s only just gotten started, but he’s already won two huge awards. We don’t know if he can sing, but he’s got a nice head start on an EGOT.
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Robbie was a regular on the Australian soap “Neighbours” when the decade began. Eventually she decided to come to the United States to try and make it here, and it has turned out quite well. After breaking out in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” she’s made acclaimed turns in films like “I, Tonya” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…” Also, she’s Harley Quinn. That didn’t turn out great in “Suicide Squad,” but we have cautious optimism for the “Birds of Prey” movie.
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Jesse Eisenberg was the star of “The Social Network,” but he was already en route to stardom by that point. Garfield was drawing eyes for the first time, though. While his two “Spider-Man” films are kind of looked back on with skepticism now, they were both extremely financially successful. Recently, he’s been making more awards bait-type films like “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Silence.” He’s still a star, though.
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“Doctor Who” is huge in Britain, and it’s pretty big now as well. In 2010, Gillan was cast in the role of the Doctor’s “companion,” a role that helped bring her to stardom. Her Scottish brogue probably helped a bit as well. You don’t hear her native accent in her two biggest roles, though, as Nebula in the MCU and her role in the surprise blockbuster “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”
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We didn’t want to flood this list with Marvel actors, but let’s face it: Marvel rules the movie landscape. Hemsworth played Thor for the first time in 2011 and since then has ensconced himself in the MCU, which has guaranteed him movie stardom —o much so, he’s gotten the chance to star in other, non-Marvel films, though none has had quite the same success.
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Millie Bobbie Brown
She’s not even old enough to drive yet, but Brown is already a star. The runaway cult adoration that “Stranger Things” has had since it debuted is responsible for that. Brown had the showy role as Eleven, the supernatural child at the center of the mystery. She’s started to dip her toe into other projects, including “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” an expected blockbuster that didn’t quite hit.
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We’re going to allow ourselves one more kid from “Stranger Things,” because it has made a lot of names. However, in addition to playing Mike in the hit Netflix show, he also had a key role in “IT,” which actually was a blockbuster movie.
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Cardi B didn’t even release her first single until 2016. She didn’t have her first hit until “Bodak Yellow” in 2017, but oh what a hit it was. It became the No. 1 song in the United States, and a new star was born. She’s released only one album, but we can already safely call her a superstar.
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What a wild ride it has been for Bieber in this decade. When it started, he was in his early teens and had gotten his first bit of traction in 2009. Then in 2010, he released his first album, and the rest is history. Of course, it’s insane history. There have been ups and downs and all sort of weird stories. Also, he released a 3-D concert movie in 2011, which means the phrase “Justin Bieber’s 3-D concert movie” is the most beginning-of-the-decade sentence phrase you can say.
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In 2010, Kanye West released the song “Monster.” It featured himself, Jay-Z, Rick Ross and an unknown rapper named Nicki Minaj, who blew them all out of the water. After hearing that song, all anybody could talk about was Minaj. She released her own first songs in 2010, but in 2011 she dropped “Superbass,” which started her rise to being one of the biggest musical artists in the world. Minaj has talked about retiring to raise a family, which means the 2010s could go down as the decade of Nicki Minaj.
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Bruno Mars had been working as a musician here and there before the turn of the decade, but 2010 saw him release his first album that inclued the single “Just the Way You Are,” which was a massive hit that topped the Billboard charts. He actually had two No. 1 singles from his debut album and then came his second album “Unorthodox Jukebox” and the song “Locked Out of Heaven.” Soon enough, he’d be performing on the halftime show.
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Lana Del Rey
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We will end with a controversial name. A lot of people don’t like Lana Del Rey for whatever reason. Some consider her a phony, given that she stopped performing under her given name, Lizzie Grant, to create her Lana Del Rey persona. Others note her father has some connections in the music business. We don’t care about any of that. People know her and have opinions because she’s a star. She ended the decade releasing a new album whose title we shant include here, but it’s one last bit of controversy to end the 2010s with a bang.
Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the booksThe Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000andThe Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.