While it’s easy to argue many stars and performers had a standout year -- and there were plenty across film, stage and TV -- no one did it better than these 17 scene stealers of 2017.
For some, it was a breakthrough performance onstage, like former Glee star Alex Newell in Once on This Island, newcomer Ari’el Stachel in The Band’s Visitor Hello Dolly!’s Beanie Feldstein, who just so happened to also star in Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s critically acclaimed directorial debut. For others, it was finding their foot offstage, as was the case with Anthony Ramos, who went from the original cast of Hamilton to Spike Lee’s TV adaption of She's Gotta Have It.
And when it came to breakout screen roles, no one made audiences laugh harder than Molly Bernard on Younger, John Early on Search Party, Lena Waithe, who won an Emmy for writing the hilarious but heartfelt "Thanksgiving" episode of Master of None, or Lil Rel Howery in Get Out and on season two of Insecure. Then there was Megan Mullally, who stepped back into her breakout-turned-iconic role as Karen Walker in the revival of Will & Grace.
Others had a transformative moment in their careers, like Susan Sarandon, who shifted from film to TV with back-to-back roles on Feud: Bette and Joan and Ray Donovan. Keegan-Michael Key left behind Key & Peele for acclaimed stage roles in Hamlet and Meteor Shower on Broadway. Kumail Nanjiani went from a supporting player on HBO’s Silicon Valley to the writer, director and star of the autobiographical romantic comedy The Big Sick, which co-starred Ray Romano, who also went darkly funny in the EPIX adaptation of Get Shorty. Meanwhile, Aubrey Plaza left behind any memories of Parks and Rec's April Ludgate with her scene-stealing performance on FX’s Legion, and Lois Smith, now 87, earned the best reviews of her career with Marjorie Prime.
Then there were the comedians who took on the tough issues of 2017 in a funny way: Hasan Minhaj, The Daily Show correspondent and host of this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and Robin Thede, the host of The Rundown on BET.
Every year sees stars rise to the top -- and 2017 was no exception. From the stage to the screen, ET spoke with these performers who stood out in a big way.