The 20 best young actors working in Hollywood – Yardbarker

Plenty of Hollywood greats have been on the scene for years, like Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro. However, some of the industry’s best and brightest talent comes from the young stars who lead the silver screen today. They prove that age is no barrier to excelling at your craft as they build their careers, consistently put out impressive performances, and grow their star power as a result.
Since her breakthrough performance in Lady Macbeth, Florence Pugh has established herself as one of the industry’s most versatile and reliable young actors. From intense dramatic performances in Midsommar and Don’t Worry Darling to blockbusters like Black Widow and the upcoming Dune sequel, Pugh is a chameleon who can nail any genre. She received her first Oscar nomination at age 24 for Little Women, and we can guarantee it won’t be her last. 
Netflix series Wednesday became an unexpected pop culture hit, and as a result, so did its titular star, Jenna Ortega. While Ortega perfectly embodies the dark and offbeat nature of the character, she began acting long before and started on the Disney Channel. Over the past few years, Ortega has cemented herself as Gen Z’s scream queen, starring in Ti West’s X and the new Scream films. To add to her spooky repertoire, she will also star in the upcoming Beetlejuice sequel. 
Austin Butler got his start on various Nickelodeon and Disney television shows, like many others. Later in his twenties, Butler nabbed impressive supportive roles in films like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood . However, it was his turn as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic that made him a star. Nominated for an Oscar for his show-stopping and moving performance, the actor’s career is only set to get bigger as he plays the villain in the highly anticipated Dune sequel. 
The multi-talented Zendaya is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars at just 26 years old. Initially starting on the Disney Channel, Zendaya rose to mainstream prominence with roles in the new Spider-Man trilogy and The Greatest Showman. It was her gritty and mature performance as a drug addict in HBO’s Euphoria that led her to critical acclaim and two Emmy wins. With films set to release this year from directors Denis Villeneuve and Luca Guadigino, Zendaya continues to push her career to new heights.
Timothée Chalamet may be a Hollywood heartthrob, but there’s a reason he’s being cast in some of the biggest films and working with the biggest directors. Chalamet first made waves with his vulnerable performance in Call Me By Your Name, which earned him an Oscar nomination. Since then, he has built up an incredible filmography, compiled of arthouse films and blockbusters, and continues to win and be nominated for many awards due to his raw talent.
At just 19 years old, Storm Reid has almost 30 acting credits to her name. From supporting roles in acclaimed TV shows like Euphoria, When They See Us, and The Last of Us to appearances in films like The Invisible Man and The Suicidė Squad, Reid has covered an impressive amount of ground. Most recently, the actress further pushed her dramatic chops in the lead role of tech-set thriller Missing, proving that she’s got what it takes to headline more films.
Barry Keoghan first made waves in 2017 for two very different roles, the first as a gentle young man in Dunkirk and the second as a psychopathic teenager in The Killing of the Sacred Deer. Since then, Keoghan has continued to star in independent films and blockbusters from the likes of Marvel and DC. The actor received his first Oscar nomination for his devastating performance in The Banshees of Inisherin , holding his own against veterans like Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. 
Unique and commanding, viewers haven’t been able to take their eyes off of Anya Taylor-Joy since her breakout role in 2015’s The Witch. She’s truly one of those actors that has something so singular about them and is the highlight of any project she’s part of. In a career full of incredible roles ranging from horror final girls to Princess Peach herself, Taylor-Joy’s most notable role to date is her award-winning performance in The Queen’s Gambit, which cemented her as a force to be reckoned with. 
Of all the young actors working right now, no one’s face has been printed onto merchandise quite as much as Millie Bobby Brown’s. The actress found worldwide fame after playing Eleven in Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things. The iconic role has given Brown the chance to showcase her dramatic range, and as a result, the actress has earned some fun roles in the Enola Holmes and Godzilla films. With Brown being so young, she still has so much more to offer as her career grows.
As cinema’s current Spider-Man, Tom Holland’s profile has skyrocketed since slipping into the super suit. However, the British actor has exhibited his range and talent far beyond Peter Parker. Alongside maintaining his action movie star status with films like Uncharted, Holland also has an impressive number of dramatic roles under his belt, including The Devil All the Time and Cherry. His gritty streak continues with the upcoming crime series The Crowded Room.
Kelvin Harrison Jr. initially garnered attention with a string of standout performances in independent films such as Waves, It Comes At Night, and Luce. Since then, Harrison Jr. has played several historical figures in The Trial of the Chicago 7, Elvis and Chevalier, the latter for which he has received unanimous praise. The actor is only set to become more prominent to mainstream audiences and will voice Scar in a prequel to 2019’s The Lion King
Bella Ramsey first burst onto our screens as the fierce and headstrong Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones. Thanks to their small but scene-stealing impact, they booked more film and television roles, but the actor’s real breakout came from starring in HBO’s post-apocalyptic series The Last Of Us. Based on the hit video game, the series stars Ramsey as the lead character Ellie, whose powerful and charismatic performance proves that this is just the beginning for them.
As the new Black Panther herself, Letitia Wright has taken Hollywood by storm. First rising to fame after her performance as Shuri in the first Black Panther, Wright had a much larger role in the sequel and could carry the film effortlessly. Along with her Marvel work, the actress continues to star in independent films like The Silent Twins and has received awards acclaim for her work in drama and limited series such as Black Mirror and Small Axe.
Rachel Zegler was just 17 years old when she was chosen from an open casting call by Steven Spielberg to play the role of Maria in the West Side Story remake. Thanks to her performance which showcased both her acting abilities and vocals, Zegler has since been cast in several blockbusters. She played the goddess Anthea in Shazam! Fury of the Gods, is the female lead in the Hunger Games prequel, and will star as Snow White in Disney’s live-action remake. 
Alex Wolff has been acting and singing since he was a kid alongside his brother Nat Wolff in the Nickelodeon series The Naked Brothers Band. Since then, Wolff has well and truly shed his Nickelodeon image, haunting audiences with his disturbing performance in 2018’s horror hit Hereditary. He’s followed that up with a string of dramatic roles in films like Pig and Old, and for good measure, has also kept things light by appearing in the recent Jumanji films. 
Jacob Tremblay first melted hearts with his star-making performance as little Jack in the 2015’s Room. Tremblay was only eight years old but showed talent and emotional intelligence far beyond his years. He followed it up with another tear-jerker in Wonder and an R-rated comedy, Good Boys. Now that Tremblay is all grown up, he’s been lending his talents to voice work, including Pixar’s Luca, Cartoon Saloon’s My Father’s Dragon, and Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid as Flounder. 
No other actress can say they have played young Caroline Forbes, Emma Swan, Tonya Harding, Sabrina Spellman, and Carol Danvers, except for Mckenna Grace. With almost 70 acting credits at just 16 years old, Grace has fashioned herself an impressive resume, made up of playing both younger versions of characters and ones that are all her own. With the lead role in the new series of Ghostbusters films, her success is only set to skyrocket. 
Playing one-seventh of the Losers Club in the two recent It movies, Jack Dylan Grazer has become a new go-to young actor in Hollywood, thanks to his natural screen presence and charisma. He has showcased his mature and dramatic abilities in HBO’s limited series We Are Who We Are, as well as his dynamic and playful side with voice work in Luca and Ron’s Gone Wrong. More recently, he has been in the spotlight thanks to his portrayal of Freddy Freeman in the Shazam films. 
Will Poulter instantly became an audience favorite after his hilarious breakthrough turn in the comedy We’re the Millers. The actor has built a stellar filmography, from dramatic roles in The Revenant, Detroit, and the limited series Dopesick to blockbuster franchises, including Narnia, The Maze Runner, and most recently, Guardians of the Galaxy. With so much range up his sleeve and a talent for playing bad guys, Poulter stands out among his fellow actors. 
Saoirse Ronan has always been the gold standard for young actors, and she’s been at the top of the game for years. Ronan was just 14 when nominated for her first Oscar for her devastating performance in Atonement, and since then, she has been nominated three times. With so many distinct, breathtaking, and iconic roles in films like Brooklyn, Lady Bird, Little Women, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, the actress could easily retire now and still be one of the best of her generation. 
Alyssa De Leo is a freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia. She has studied both media and screenwriting, and has had her work screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival. She loves writing about film and television just as much as she loves creating her own projects and stories.
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