Celebrities, they’re just like us! Or at least, the career of a celebrity is a lot like the career of a normal person, in the sense that everyone has their highs and lows, their successes and failures. Obviously if you’ve made it to actual celebrity status then you can’t really consider yourself a failure, however it does seem like there are some people who find a whole lot of success but never manage to make it to the very top of their game, and there are others who manage to become the most successful person in their field but mess it up with their actions, attitudes, or just because they’re too in everyone’s face all the time.
But there’s always new up and comers making waves in the entertainment industry and there are always people who are past their prime whose stars are starting to fade, and a lot of times it’s hard to understand what exactly makes some people successful and what hinders some others from ultimate success. So, out of the collection of performers and stars that you’d probably recognize but might not know right off the top of your head, who deserves to transition from “Wait is that…?” to “Oh, I love her!” Which A-list celebs should honestly move aside to let the new kids on the block have a chance at the spotlight, or which A-listers are no longer achieving anything that is genuinely A-list worthy? Read on to find out!
20 C-Lister We Love: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been a working actor for more than half of her life now, and she has had a pretty interesting ride so far. She started off on the NBC soap Passions, went on to become a bit of a horror scream queen, and after her strong performance on the anthology series Fargo it’s looking like she might finally be transitioning into more serious fare. But we’re certainly not complaining. Winstead is a great actress who has been carrying her own movies for more than ten years now, and it would be pretty rad to see her start doing some material that gives her just as much of a spotlight but that isn’t restricted to a relatively small viewing audience.
Honestly, Fargo seems like a perfect material match for her. It has the obvious horror elements to it but also requires a lot of heavy lifting on the part of its actors.
Normally actors don’t want to be typecast, but it’s hard to argue with this match made in heaven and it would be awesome to see Mary Elizabeth tackle some similar stuff. We have to stick with what we have for now, but hopefully her recent successes will open more doors.
19 A-Lister We’re Tired Of: Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence is clearly one of the biggest actresses in the entertainment industry, and her popularity doesn’t seem like it’s going to be going anywhere any time soon. However, the industry also seems to love to find their “it girl” of the moment and make sure that she’s everywhere being seen by everyone all the time, and the whole life cycle of an it girl always seems to end with the girls being overexposed and the audience being sick of them. When Lawrence was on the rise her goofy persona was a charming counterbalance to the typical Hollywood starlet, but now that she’s at the top of her game it makes her seem disingenuous and one-note.
She’d be silly not to capitalize on her current popularity, but continually choosing roles that are not right for her regardless of how talented she is or how good the writing is seems like a big mistake.
If you have a reputation of quality over quantity you want to keep it, and just signing on to random drivel like Passengers or Red Sparrow and playing roles that are clearly not right for you like Joy and the Silver Linings Playbook is not the way to make that happen.
18 C-Lister We Love: Maggie Grace
Most people probably recognize Maggie Grace from her tenure playing the vapid, rude Shannon Rutherford on ABC’s smash hit TV show Lost, and to be honest her role in Lost only served to solidify the notion that she was an actress whose success was based on her looks and that she didn’t really have much else to offer. However, Grace just started up with a main role in AMC’s newly revamped Fear the Walking Dead, and she has actually done a pretty amazing job of things so far.
Her character is basically the connective thread between all of the preexisting characters and the new characters, and she also has the unenviable job of basically having to explain everything that’s going on in the show in the past and present (which she does with her photojournalist skills that thankfully make it easier to keep things straight). Based on her previous work you wouldn’t think that Maggie has the gravitas to basically carry a show on the shoulders of her character, but so far she has done a surprisingly good job, and the direction that Fear the Walking Dead is going in seems to be just the direction that they need to be going in.
17 A-Lister We’re Tired Of: Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian has managed to work her way up to the top of the entertainment industry heap just purely because of her love of fame and her aggression when it comes to making herself the most visible woman on the planet, but it is even possible for someone who is famous for the sake of being famous to overexpose themselves to a point where people are tired of hearing about them. Some of what Kim has decided to share about her life has actually been beneficial, and it’s nice to see her normalize certain things or bring attention to things that most people don’t want to discuss publicly. But also… she’s still Kim Kardashian.
The thought that Kim Kardashian has had face-to face-meetings with POTUS about revamping actual political policy is absurd, and while it’s nice that she wants to use her high profile for a good cause I think it’s safe to say that most people are not going to take her seriously. It’s not fair, but you can’t be posting ridiculous selfies on Instagram every other day and then try to play social justice warrior on your off days, so Kim should really pick something and stick to it.
16 C-Lister We Love: Rachael Taylor
This year in entertainment definitely seems to be the year of the woman, both on and off screen, so it’s good that the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to finally be investing into their many awesome female character properties after years of letting the audience complain about their lack of ladies. And if the MCU had one product that just screams girl power, it would pretty obviously be the Netflix adaptation of Jessica Jones.
To say that their show has a strong female cast would be an understatement, and although Jessica is clearly the star it’s nice to see them branching out and developing all of their other characters as the show goes on.
Rachael Taylor plays Jessica’s BFF Trish Walker, and while she spent most of season 1 acting as Jessica’s sidekick her character has now gone off on her own direction and is developing her own heroic arc outside of her relationship with Jessica. The reaction to her character’s evolution has been mixed, but one thing is for sure. Taylor certainly has the chops to carry her own story line and play a character who’s more than just a sidekick. We can only hope that the show expands on that even more next season.
15 A-Lister We’re Tired Of: Jennifer Aniston
Despite the fact that Jennifer Aniston has had a very middle of the road film career, the very existence of Friends (and let’s be real, her short and dramatic marriage to fellow superstar Brad Pitt) has cemented Aniston’s place on the A-list pretty much permanently. And at this point her whole publicity shtick is just tired. Yes, she has had a rough go of things on a few occasions, but she has managed to parlay those personal speed bumps into a national tragedy that doesn’t seem to ever end. O=
In the era of reality TV shamelessness, it’s a bit awkward to continually see Aniston get all of this public attention and act like it’s something that she doesn’t want or have any control over.
Sure, tabloid fodder can’t be completely controlled, but Jen has been at the top of the PR game for more than half of her life now, and most of the drama that she keeps selling is about things that ended years ago. She has certainly been able to remain more visible than the rest of her Friends counterparts and she doesn’t have to have any shame in her game, but it would be nice to see her switch things up a bit.
14 C-Lister We Love: Deborah Ann Woll
Throughout her career as an actor, Deborah Ann Woll has managed to land significant roles on some pretty high quality TV shows, and she has always managed to make herself and her characters stand out among some already good material. So then, one kind of has to ask themselves why she seems to be relegated to the C-list when her appearance and acting chops are solidly A-list. Her True Blood character Jessica Hamby was quite the ham, and her MCU character Karen Page could not be more different, so her ability to nail it in both roles proves that she’s no one-hit wonder. And while Daredevil was great, Karen is an absolute perfect match for The Punisher.
It seems like it’s about time for Woll to take center stage, and she would be the perfect female lead on a great TV show that doesn’t really have a female lead at this point. And she could even pull double duty on Daredevil. The MCU has had trouble finding female characters and actresses who make a major impact on their audience, so why not capitalize on what has already worked and make Deborah one of the major female faces of the MCU.
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13 A-Lister We’re Tired Of: Beyonce
Some celebrities are on the A-list, and some celebrities are so A-list that they’ve basically become an industry unto themselves. Clearly, Beyonce is a part of the latter category. And while she should have no shame in her game nor should she back down from her massive amount of success, I don’t think it would hurt her to take a step back and maybe not look into ways to monetize everything she says, does, or thinks. Beyonce is definitely good at what she does, but she seems to overplay what exactly she does do herself, and doesn’t like to confront the fact that the Beyonce industry is quite literally an industry, there is a team of employees behind her making her into the worldwide success that she is.
She’s a good entertainer, but she seems to have lost sight of the fact that that’s what she is: an entertainer. She’s not revolutionizing the world, she’s finding ways to make money off of revolutionary ideas that she’s watering down and repackaging into something that is palatable to a large audience, and it’s more than a little grimy to continually see her make a buck off of things that seem meaningless to her.
12 C-Lister We Love: Alexis Bledel
Most people who watched Gilmore Girls when they were younger did not look at actress Alexis Bledel and think that she could be the next Meryl Streep. Rory was kind of a boring character to begin with, but Bledel’s soft spoken nature and doe eyes became super played out over the course of the series, and after Gilmore Girls ended it seemed like Bledel might be relegated to mediocre TV jobs for the rest of her career. And then The Handmaid’s Tale happened.
Having good writing to work with certainly makes any actor’s job a lot easier, but I doubt most people would have ever expected Alexis to serve up an Emmy-worthy performance, no matter how good the writing was. Obviously we were all in for a pleasant and unexpected surprise though, and after seeing what Bledel is actually capable of, the only thing the audiences could possibly complain about is not seeing enough of her. Breaking into “prestige” material is pretty difficult for actors who ever worked outside of it, but now that she’s done it it’s time to see what exactly she can do with work that is more than just being the bookish nerd.
11 A-Lister We’re Tired Of: Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez is without a doubt one of the most famous people in the entertainment industry, but what exactly has she even been doing for the past few years? She has had a few hit singles and a few acting jobs, and she has dated the insufferable and equally famous Justin Bieber, but other than that there’s really nothing that she has done that justifies her being a semi-permanent fixture on the A-list. It’s strange, because she doesn’t present herself as someone who is famous for being famous and she does have things that she actually does, but it seems like her actual fame is driven by nothing more than her existence and her ability to stay in the spotlight for no real reason.
Gomez quite possibly has the talent to actually be successful based on her talent alone, but she doesn’t seem to be putting those talents to much use at this point, and her relative star power doesn’t seem to match up to the actual work she has done at all.
I guess if you’re getting what you want without the work then there’s no reason to work for it, but it’d be nice to see Selena actually start working again.
10 C-Lister We Love: Felicity Jones
Stunning actress Felicity Jones has been doing solid work for years now, but after her memorable turn as Jyn Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story it seems like Jones should be moving up the ranks from a reliable actor to a legit star in her own right. She certainly has every component someone needs in order to reach the top of the totem pole, and considering how much credibility she has both in big box office hit films and prestigious films (she has already been nominated for an Oscar, for her turn as Jane Hawking in The Theory of Everything) it seems like she should have her choice of projects.
So many of our current A-list stars seem to be famous people who really don’t do much work or who don’t even have jobs at all, so seeing someone with talent, skill, and a willingness to work hard for the material would be a refreshing change of pace at this point. And although we all know how Rogue One ended, we can’t be the only ones who are itching for another peek into the life and times of Jyn Erso, especially with the seemingly endless supply of Star Wars spinoffs that seem to be in the works.
9 A-Lister We’re Tired Of: Gwyneth Paltrow
It is impressive that actress Gwyneth Paltrow has seemingly been able to build a career out of nearly nothing more than being born rich and beautiful, but honestly at this point she seems more overexposed than she ever has been, which is shocking to say considering her high profile in the Shakespeare In Love era. Paltrow is pretty and a good actress, but she seems to have been absorbed in the entertainment industry for so long that she thinks that having those two abilities means that she has the ability to do nearly anything she wants. And this would be fine if she wanted to design shoes or sell hair extensions, or hey, even if she wanted to use her visibility to get her fans to buy absurdly overpriced clothes and “lifestyle” items that they don’t need and could get for about 1/10th of the price that she’s asking for it.
However Gwyn seem to think that the best use of her time is promoting snake oil “health” products that, unless she took a few years off to get a degree in medicine, she has no actual knowledge or understanding of. If that’s how you want to use your popularity, then maybe you shouldn’t have it.
8 C-Lister We Love: Elle Fanning
Actress Elle Fanning seems poised to follow in the footsteps of her doppelgänger older sister and transition from a cute as a button child star to an actual serious adult actress, and if her taste in projects is anything to go by then it will be exciting to see if she can become the next A-list it girl with the talent to back up her success. She seems to have a preference for more artsy projects. She’s only 20 years old but has already worked with some art film heavy hitters like Sofia Coppola and Nicolas Winding Refn, but has still headlined some massive budget mainstream flicks like Maleficent.
It will be especially interesting to see what direction she decides to take her career in, because her resume is already so varied that she can really go in whatever direction she wants. And when you talk about most actresses who do prestige films as well as big budget blockbusters, they’re almost always household names, which makes Fanning’s relative anonymity a bit of a surprise considering her body of work. But presumably it would just take the right project to push her over the edge into super success, so it’ll be interesting to see if that comes for her soon.
7 A-Lister We’re Tired Of: Nicki Minaj
A big part of the reason why hip hop star Nicki Minaj became so successful (besides her actual musical and writing talent) was that she made herself as visible as she possibly could at all times. Whether it was what she was wearing, doing, or saying, Minaj was making sure that it was something purely designed to get as many eyes on her as possible. And it’s hard to criticize that publicity strategy now, since it transformed Nicki from a kind of kooky rapper to an A-list star. However, once you’ve achieved your goals then it’s probably time to reevaluate them and decide on where you want to go from there. There’s no reason to still be constantly chasing attention once you have more attention than pretty much every other person on the planet.
Minaj has the talent to back up her fame, so now that she’s super famous she should really focus on expressing her abilities as best as she can. Nicki might nail it in her music, but publicly she still acts like Blac Chyna with a bigger budget. Getting to the A-list is hard, but staying on it is harder, and stagnating is an easy way to lose a lot of interest.
6 C-Lister We Love: Kiernan Shipka
Mos people recognize Kiernan Shipka as the adorable Sally, daughter to Betty and Don Draper, on the AMC hit Mad Men. But Kiernan is all grown up now, and she seems to be venturing out into some much more interesting roles that will hopefully show off her significant skills. And she must have some pretty impressive abilities, because she was recently cast as Sabrina Spellman in Netfilx’s reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (this entry into the series will be called the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), and those are most definitely some enormous shoes to fill. After playing supporting characters for so many years it’s cool to see Shipka take on a lead, and it’s exceptionally exciting to see her taking on a character as memorable and enjoyable as Sabrina Spellman.
If prior Netflix reboots are anything to go by, it’s fair to expect that Shipka will see her star rise quite a bit once the show actually hits the net.
At the very least it doesn’t seem like she’ll be stuck doing guest spots on TV shows or taking the lead in Lifetime movies, and here’s hoping that she makes revisiting Sabrina a totally worthwhile and enjoyable trip.
5 A-Lister We’re Tired Of: Taylor Swift
Songstress Taylor Swift has certainly gotten a whole lot of mileage out of being the down to earth country girl who gets picked on and stands up in the face of her naysayers, especially when you consider that Swift’s actual life and personal behaviors make her seem like a queen bee who will do whatever it takes to stay ahead of the game. And while her manipulations might be off-putting they were at least understandable before, because curating a personality that made Swift super relatable to her fans makes a lot of sense, and at least there were times where she had a leg to stand on even if she overplayed her victim card.
But now it seems like that facade has collapsed pretty much completely, so Taylor still playing along to that same old game makes her look quite snaky. And although Taylor apparently realized this, she also decided to go full tilt for the devious Hollywood girl thing instead of, I don’t know, reconsidering her behavior and acting like a somewhat normal person instead? Swift doesn’t need to do much to get a lot of publicity, but continually being at the top of public interest for being fake is not very appealing or impressive.
4 C-Lister We Love: Zoe Kravitz
Zoe Kravitz is one of the many young Hollywood kids who is trying to follow in their parents footsteps when it comes to fame and glory, but what separates Zoe from a lot of her counterparts is the fact that she seems to actually want to do work in order to gain recognition and be successful. Zoe has been working away at low budget and independent movies for most of her career, but in the past few years it seems like things have been heating up and she’s poised to become a new household name. With roles in major blockbusters like the X-Men franchise and the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them series it’s clear that the industry thinks she has what it takes to be an audience draw, and after her turn on HBO’s smash hit Big Little Lies it seems obvious that she’s a very versatile and capable actress.
What makes her the most appealing though is the fact that there just aren’t any major stars that are quite like her out there right now. Entertainment is always looking for what’s new and what’s next, and it definitely seems like Kravitz is a pretty safe bet.
3 A-Lister We’re Tired Of: Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson is currently the highest paid actress in Hollywood, and while it’s up for debate whether or not her actual acting abilities justify paying her twenty million dollars a movie what Scarlett has made clear throughout the course of her career is only her bottom line. The entertainment industry has been rocked by a lot of major changes in the past few months, and actresses especially are using their voices to enact these changes and to spread awareness for a lot of the problems women face in the entertainment industry and in society in general. Unsurprisingly, Johansson has participated in these movements and voiced her support for the women fighting back against their abusers… so long as those voices aren’t affecting Johansson’s career or making her previous life choices look bad.
Obviously to get to the very top you have to have a fairly cutthroat personality, but Scarlett’s outright support of Woody Allen and Marchesa (a fashion brand that Harvey Weinstein was famous for forcing starlets to wear) seems exceptionally tone deaf and gross at this period in time. Add in the fact that she pays lip service to certain ideals while behaving in a way that completely contradicts them and it’s clear why Johansson needs to go away.
2 C-Lister We Love: Natalie Dormer
Natalie Dormer has definitely always been an actress who knows how to make an impression on her audience, and after her memorable turns as Anne Boleyn on The Tudors and Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones it seems like she is the obvious choice for anyone who’s looking for an actress who can play a layered and complex character (and obviously it’s just a bonus if that character needs to wear a corset). But, now that Natalie’s character on Game of Thrones is long gone it seems like the perfect time for Dormer to pick up another job where she gets to flex her considerable acting chops, and it would be nice if she could find a project that is actually focused on her character and her abilities.
She is certainly capable of carrying material by herself, and what with the sudden popularity of women in films and television it seems like the perfect time for her to begin the kind of roles that will take her from the C-list to the A-list. Considering how many unique male character actors have managed to make it to the A-list solely based on their skills, it’s honestly a bit of a surprise that Dormer hasn’t already managed to do the same.
1 A-Lister We’re Tired Of: Oprah
Oprah has pretty much achieved the status of permanent icon, and while her never-ending hustle is admirable it also seems like the focus of her career has taken a bit of a dive. I mean, she’s still everywhere, but what exactly is she doing? Shilling for Weight Watchers? Doing segments for news programs every so often? Showing up in A Wrinkle In Time? Oprah is considered by many to be the most powerful woman in the history of media, so to see her using that power for such fluffy endeavors leaves a lot to be desired, especially when you consider what Oprah used to do with the Oprah Winfrey Show and her various charities and media platforms.
Oprah’s endorsements used to mean something, and she used to focus most of her energy on things that were just… not things like Weight Watchers. What separated her from many other media moguls was the way that she curated her own image and used that image to curate her career, but now it kind of seems like she’s just doing whatever comes her way. Oprah has been a major public figure longer than a lot of people have even been alive, but if she’s going to go for this meaningless stuff then why not take a step back?
References: wikipedia.com, imdb.com
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