Empire's not-so Hot List...

An Oscar winner, a Bafta winner and a Golden Globe winner walk onto a list. The punchline is Empire doesnt think they've hit the big time yet.

I have to say kudos to Empire for some of their inclusions on their Hot List, in particular including the excellent Noel Clarke and Michael Fassbender, and also for acknowledging Channing Tatum- whose performance in A Guide to Recognising Your Saints should have earned him vastly more plaudits than he actually gathered. Likening him to Mark Wahlberg is surely an injustice though... channing-tatum But, I can€™t help but feel that they have missed two glaring certainties and one less obvious inclusion. Firstly the less than obvious pick- step forward Mr Ricky Gervais. Okay, so it would be more than poetic licence that called him young, but then Fassbender and Zoe Saldana are hardly just out of the pram- and arguably more than any other inclusion on the list, 2009 is the year when Gervais will move onto the next plane. Ghost Town was excellent, as not only my DVD review but also Matt€™s top Films of 2008 list noted, and This Side of the Truth looks to be the first in a string of comedy directorial projects- if his directing of The Office is anything to go by, the film will affirm his star. gervais You have to wonder on what criteria Empire actually based the list: I would personally count a rising star as someone who has so far not attracted much acclaim beyond initial buzz off the back of a few early performances- i.e. someone in need of a break-out picture. To include an Oscar winner, a Golden Globe nominee and a Bafta winner seems to confirm that Empire didn€™t consider a similar definition. The full list is as follows: Jim Sturgess (surprisingly good in Across the Universe) Mary Elizabeth Winstead Melanie Laurent Freida Pinto Marion Cotillard (surely already a supernova) Michael Fassbender Mia Wasikowska Gemma Arterton (minus the oil) Evan Rachel Wood Emily Blunt (again, already had the break-out moment) Carey Mulligan Zoe Saldana Rebecca Hall Channing Tatum (hopefully not tempted by Step Up 3D) Sam Worthington Ryan Reynolds Daniel Mays Amanda Seyfriend Noel Clarke (couldn€™t have put it better myself) Megan Fox...

In the context of the rest of the list, which inexplicably includes Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, fairly established actor Ryan Reynolds, and long-heralded up and comers Megan Fox and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, it seems strange that Michael Cera is not included. True he is an established player, but 2009 will be his year, thanks to Year One (God help us) and then Scott Pilgrim along with the rumours of an Arrested Development picture in the pipeline. He has worked enough on the periphery of the industry, focusing on cool indie comedies without ever really cementing a position in the upper echelons of the celebrity ladder. I just wish it didn€™t take a collaboration with Jack Black to get there. But it is the list€™s ignorance of Anton Yelchin that defies logic- his early career performances in Alpha Dog and more recently Charlie Bartlett (although very derivative of Ferris Bueller€™s Day Off) were solidly good, and the casting in Star Trek is more than a reasonable achievement. Why else would he have been suggested in early buzz as a potential candidate for The Green Lantern? Nothing up until that point really suggested anything other than potential, so there is no way Empire could consider Yelchin an established player already. I find it less than likely that 2008 would have brought such speculation, and yet Yelchin doesn€™t make the list. anton_yelchin5 My other major gripe is with the €œWatch Out€ section of the stars€™ profiles- I€™ve already mentioned the Tatum/Wahlberg atrocity, but to compare Noel Clarke to Colin Farrell is a slight understatement considering Clarke€™s achievements as a film-maker, and likening Sam Worthington to compatriot Russell Crowe is just laziness. Likewise where the hell did they get the John Cusack/Ryan Reynolds connection? One is an indie leading man, most comfortable playing self-conscious, slightly neurotic figures and the other has more mainstream credentials thanks to combining rugged handsomeness and the kind of chiselled body that makes me weep every time I wobble past a mirror. Can anyone else imagine Cusack playing Deadpool? I certainly can€™t. So, long and short of it is, an interesting list if one governed by slightly dubious qualifications, but one with a few glaring mistakes.

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