The 10 Hottest Hollywood Newcomers

As awards season thrums to a deafening crescendo, we round up the up-and-coming actors to put on your radar.

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9. Hong Chau

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At this year’s Golden Globes, the host Seth Meyers reprised his ‘Jokes Seth Can’t Tell’ skit from his late-night show. Teeing up a punch line for the Downsizing star Hong Chau, he began, “According to a recent article, only five per cent of speaking roles in Hollywood are played by Asian actors —”

“— but those numbers might be off,” Chau interrupted, “because a white person did the math.”

This jibe at the lack of opportunities for ethnic minorities in the film industry rings true for Chau. After starring in 2014’s Inherent Vice, the actress struggled to find work and was not invited to auditions for a full year. When Chau heard that the director Alexander Payne was developing a social satire with a sci-fi twist, she was eager to get involved. She shot to the top of the shortlist and clinched the role, giving a standout performance in Downsizing, a movie that sees Matt Damon shrink himself to a pocket-size five inches to live in a miniature eco-friendly community. Despite courting controversy for her so-called ‘problematic’ accent, Chau – a Thai-born daughter of Vietnamese refugees – defends her depiction of her character, saying she drew on her Asian upbringing to flesh out the amputee Ngoc Lan Tran’s backstory. “I just want Asian characters that are well-written,” she tells IndieWire. “I love characters that are written with a lot of specificity.” These polemics clearly haven’t bothered the Hollywood Foreign Press, Screen Actors Guild or Critics Choice organisations, who have all showered her with nominations. As a result of her work in Downsizing (and her recurring role in the smash-hit limited series Big Little Lies), Hong Chau now has Hollywood at her feet.

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