Featured Posts

Jun 28, 2010

ShoWest Stars of Tomorrow

Over the course of listing "achievements" of Tom Cruise's for last week's Favored Five about him, I recalled the ShoWest Awards, handed out by the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO). I remembered reading about these awards from years ago, back when Premiere Magazine was still around and they regularly covered them. The bulk of these awards were pretty obvious, kind of like the Billboard Awards - if an album was the top selling one of a given year on the Billboard charts, the odds that said album would win a Billboard award were, oh, even money. The ShoWest awards were handed out by theater owners, so in turn, the producers and stars whose films made the most money at the box office were - whaddaya know - winners.

I seemed to think that Cruise had been handed out a "star of the decade"-type award for his combined box office during either the 80s or the 90s, but that wasn't the case. Tom Hanks won a "Box Office Star of the Decade" award in 1999, but no one won one for the 90s, and Harrison Ford won "Box Office Star of the Century"...in 1994. Interesting choice, there.

Anyway, while researching all this, I was reminded of another award that they handed out - the titular "Star of Tomorrow" award, handed out sporadically until 1990, when an award was then handed out annually to one or more male and female stars. Since it's always fun to look back at the past predictions of others and chuckle, I saw an opportunity. Thus, I'll go through every award handed out (the first was granted in 1978) and offer a grade, as well as commentary where I see fit.

Make no mistake - I don't pretend to think that predicting who the stars of tomorrow - box office or otherwise - is a simple task, but still...some of these. Wow. You'll see:

YearSexActor(s)CommentGrade
1978MMark HamillEasy pickings for the committee this year; however, outside of SW, Hamill has had no effect on the box office whatsoeverB-
1983MDavid KeithAn Officer and a Gentlemen proved to be a fluke; Keith has carved out a nice career as a character actor, but not much beyond that.C+
1983FShelley LongThough I've never liked her, she's certainly been a star, and for many decades (on TV if not film).A-
1985MEric StolzKnown quantity, has "starred" in many a film, but never an A-lister.B+
1985FKelly LeBrockCan you say one-hit wonder? Ok, that's not true - Hard to Kill FTW - but close enough.C
1989FCarey Lowell/Talisa SotoLaw & Order / …Mortal Kombat? Apparently, they put way too much stock into the potential success of Licence to Kill.C+/D+
1990MJohnny DeppA+
1990FWinona RyderB+
1991MRichard GreicoLOLOLOLD-
1991FRobin GivensThe Boomerang doth come back.C+
1992FNicole KidmanThanks, Tom!A
1992MStephen DorffA yo-yo, this one. Making a comeback (again) with Sofia Coppola's next film, Somewhere.B-
1993MBrad PittUm, yeah.A+
1993FJuliiette LewisHis former GF…not so much, but not bad.B+
1994MChris O'DonnellStill hanging around, but has never lived up to the potential of Scent of a Woman.B
1994FTia CarrereStill hanging around, but has never lived up to the potential of Wayne's World.B-
1995FJulia OrmondWas supposed to be THE next big star after Legends of the Fall. Then Sabrina bombed, as did her career pretty much.C+
1995MWill Smith/Martin LawrenceToo easy.A+/B+
1996FCameon DiazI figured this for a no-brainer on their part, but after The Mask in 1994, Diaz starred in mostly indies. Either way, she's a mega-star.A
1996MGreg KinnearB+
1997FClaire DanesMy So-Called Career.B-
1997MHowie LongNot as funny as Grieco, but the former NFLer's acting career stalled quickly, if it even ever took off.C-
1998MMatt DamonI don't know about them, but I knew he'd be huge immediately upon seeing School Ties in 1992. Ok, that's not true at all.A
1998FMinnie DriverB
1999MGiovanni RibisiHe's a solid (and respected) actor, but he's yet to become any sort of box office star.B-
1999FHeather GrahamHad a good stretch there for awhile.B-
2000FHilary Swank2-time Best Actress. 'Nuff said.A-
2000MMichael Clarke DuncanAnyone else see him play the heavy in Daredevil. Anyone?C
2001MHeath LedgerEveryone knows his name, but he wasn't a box office star until after he'd died.B+
2001FShannon ElizabethNow THIS is a one-hit wonder.C-
2002MJosh HartnettWTF happened to this guy? He and James Franco taking each other's parts?C+
2002FNaomi WattsThe Cate Blanchett of Whichever Country Blanchett's Not From.B+
2003FAlison LohmanIt's not too late, but the train is still waiting at the station.B-
2003MLL Cool JWhere did this come from? He'd been a known quantity for at least 15 years, and had been acting regularly for a decade prior.C+
2004FJennifer GarnerShe's a star, but how big? The jury's still out.B
2004MRyan GoslingSee Ribisi, Giovanni.B
2005MHayden ChristensenWhat an obvious choice, and it still has backfired terribly.D
2005FJessica BielA-
2006MBrandon RouthStrike one.C+
2006FJennifer HudsonStrike two.C+
2007FEmma RobertsToo young to say for sure.TBD
2007MShia LaBeoufNot much older, but certainly has a nice box office record on his resume.A-
2008FAbigail BreslinGetting there, maybe.B
2008MEmile HirschSee Gosling, Ryan.B-
2009FBriana Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Audrina Patridge, Margo HarshmanAKA the 'stars' of Sorority Row. I guess this award is for sale annually. F
2009MChris PineAnother safe bet - who know how it'll turn out.TBD
2010MAlex PettyferI've never even heard of this guy. Looks like he's the star of Beastly, along with…D-
2010FVanessa Hudgens…this Disney/naughty video chick. Yup, the award is officially for sale. At least I've heard of her…C+


5 people have chosen wisely: on "ShoWest Stars of Tomorrow"

Amanda said...

If Rumor Willis makes it it will only be because of her parents. Because she's weird looking and really not a very good actress. But in this day and age, apparently you don't need to know how to act.

Reel Whore said...

Poor Rumor she got Demi's nose and Bruce's everything else. Bad for being a sexy leading lady, but don't think that gives her a pass into stardom.

Ribisi-Gosling-Hirsch: LOL, exactly right!

Garner shouldn't be as big a star as she is, her quality is in sharp decline. Lohman needs to catch that train! I've always wanted so much more for her. Her 7 Gretchen Mol.

Fletch said...

Too true, Amanda, but I'm not holding out hope for Rumer.

RW - It's hard to peg where Garner's head is at. Seems like she could be a star, but she hasn't demonstrated the desire (to my eyes at least). I'm 'meh' on Lohman - she's never really done anything for me. "Her 7 Gretchen Mol?"

Reel Whore said...

"Her 7 Gretchen Mol?" It really helps to proofread my comments.

I meant "Her & Gretchen Mol" As in, I wanted so much more from both Alison & Gretchen. I know Mol wasn't listed, but she was one of those up and comers who never quite made it.

I really liked Lohman in Matchstick Men, Where the Truth Lies and of course Drag Me to Hell. Lately, Ellen Page has been snatching all those eternally-youthful girl roles away.

Fletch said...

Ahhh, gotcha. I always hated Mol, even since she played the wet blanket in Rounders/was hyped as the Next Big Thing. In truth, she's really not bad, and has been on a comeback over the last 5 years or so, so good for her.

I'll give you Matchstick Men for Lohman. They played on her youthful looks quite well there, even if she was a bit annoying in it. I have yet to see Drag Me to Hell, but I admit I forgot about that and will give you credit there.