Movie Stars Who Did the Most: 10 of the Busiest Actors of 2018
By John Boone
Photos by Steve Granitz/WireImage / Stefania D'Alessandro/WireImage / Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images
In 2018 alone, Nicole Kidman donned the wigs of a mermaid warrior superhero queen, a grizzled, meth-addicted police detective and a God-fearing southern mama. And she is hardly the busiest actor of 2018, by our unofficial official estimation. As we look back on the year in film, let's take a moment to celebrate 11 of the movie stars we saw over and over -- and, in some cases, over and over and over and over -- again on the big screen. (Disclaimer: Ann Dowd would be the busiest actor of the year any year, so we're saluting her in spirit and giving some other actors the chance to rule 2018.)
10. Nicole Kidman (Aquaman, Boy Erased, Destroyer)
Kidman's credits include Queen Atlanna of Atlantis, matriarch to Jason Momoa's titular aquatic hero, Nancy Eamons, wife of a Baptist minister and mother of a young gay man, and Erin Bell, a hard-nosed cop with a tortured past and a murder to solve.
9. Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, Dude, Ocean's 8)
This is how a breakout year is done: Awkwafina began the year by playing a high school senior in a Netflix stoner comedy, then Queens grifter Constance and, finally, the crazy, rich and scene-stealing Peik Lin Goh, for which she was SAG Award-nominated with her cast.
8. Lucas Hedges (Ben Is Back, Boy Erased, Mid90s)
The Academy's favorite wunderkind made three plays for awards season consideration this fall: as the titular Ben, a recovering drug addict who makes a surprise visit home for the holidays; as Jared Eamons, who comes out to his parents and is coerced into conversion therapy; and as an abusive older brother in Jonah Hill's directorial debut.
7. Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther, Creed II, Fahrenheit 451, Kin)
Erik Killmonger might have been Jordan's most consuming role of the year, but he also made a secret cameo in Kin, played the dystopian book-burner Guy Montag and reprised his role as Adonis Johnson. (His busyness is rivaled by Creed II co-star Tessa Thompson, who also starred in the likes of Annihilation and Sorry to Bother You.)
After her breakout year, Haddish showed no signs of slowing down in 2018, starring alongside Kevin Hart as an unconventional GED teacher, alongside Whoopi Goldberg as her recently paroled daughter, alongside Ike Barinholtz in the political satire about a Thanksgiving dinner gone to hell and alongside Lil Rel in the NBA romp.
5. John C. Reilly (Holmes and Watson, Ralph Breaks the Internet, The Sisters Brothers, Stan & Ollie)
The ultimate partner in comedy starred in four two-handers, playing the Watson to Will Ferrell's Sherlock Holmes, voicing Wreck-It Ralph in a WiFi-enabled adventure with Sarah Silverman's Vanellope, shooting his way through the West as half of the eponymous outlaw brothers with Joaquin Phoenix, and portraying the Oliver Hardy to Steve Coogan's Stan Laurel.
4. Joe Alwyn (Boy Erased, The Favourite, Mary Queen of Scots, Operation Finale)
If you know the name Joe Alwyn for other reasons, his deluge of onscreen appearances this year -- going period for both The Favourite, as Emma Stone's character's lover, and Mary Queen of Scots, as Margot Robbie's Queen Elizabeth's lover -- will re-introduce you to a true up-and-comer.
3. Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter, Once Upon a Deadpool, Sicario: Day of the Dead)
If there's one thing fanboys can agree on, it's that Brolin's bad guys are seriously bad, first as Thanos, the purple Mad Titan trying to eliminate half of all life in the universe, then as the time-traveling mercenary Cable. (Once Upon a Deadpool probably doesn't technically count as a fifth film out this year, but Brolin probably did get a paycheck for it.)
2. Oscar Isaac (Annihilation, At Eternity's Gate, Life Itself, Operation Finale, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
Isaac tackled just about every genre this year: sci-fi, playing a researcher who visits a strange world and comes back changed; biopic, as the Paul Gauguin to Willem Dafoe's van Gogh; melodrama, playing one player in a series of interlinked stories, and thriller, as a Mossad agent tracking down Nazis. Plus, he did an animated superhero movie, though revealing who he plays would be a Spidey spoiler.
1. Brian Tyree Henry (Hotel Artemis, If Beale Street Could Talk, Irreplaceable You, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, White Boy Rick, Widows)
If a film was released in 2018 and Brian Tyree Henry wasn't in the cast, was the film ever really released at all? He played a bank robber who checks into a hotel for criminals and also a crime boss politico, plus police officers "Roach" Jackson and Jefferson Davis in White Boy Rick and Spider-Man, respectively. And all of that was before Beale Street.