Dafne Keen, Jacob Tremblay, Brooklynn Prince… These names might not really strike a chord, but you do know these people. They come from all over the world, they've made us laugh or cry. These are the names of ten child actors who've marked the world of cinema in 2017.
#1 Dafne Keen, the most badass of all
She got her claws out in Logan and Fox is planning an entire movie focused on her character. Laura, aka X-23, Wolverine's successor, is not Dafne Keen's first role. She also starred in the British-Latina series The Refugees alongside her dad. With her mum being an actress too, it's no wonder Dafne should choose this -early- professional path.
Despite being only 12, she nearly stole the show from Hugh Jackman with her take on a near silent deadly mutant. One thing is certain though: the duo was a breath of fresh air for an X-Men franchise that was beginning to show its age.
#2 Jacob Tremblay, impressive and talented
In order to understand the Jacob Tremblay phenomenon, we need to travel back in time a couple of years, when he masterfully demonstrated his acting potential in his role as a locked-up kid alongside a touching Brie Larson in Room.
This year, he excelled in Colin Trevorrow's The Book of Henry, Mike Flanagan's Before I Wake and above all in Stephen Chbosky's Wonder, in which he plays a schoolboy with a rare medical facial deformity.
Jacob Tremblay is on his way to put Christian Bale (another child prodigy) and his various screen metamorphosis to shame. Jacob is lined up to star in Xavier Nolan's next flick and at only eleven, this Star Wars fan seems to have his future career well in hands.
#3 Brooklynn Prince, a bite-sized diva
Sean Baker dared to direct a gang of insufferable kids for his wonderful and disenchanted The Florida Project, recently presented to the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes. If scientific studies are anything to go by, kids' attention span is, well, rather short and we can only suspect how er... lively the filming of The Florida Project was.
One kid stands out from the rest though, and it's Brooklynn Prince. With her two accomplices, the little tike is all provocation, out of bound ramblings and magnificent dialogue. And we love it.
She's full of energy, smiley, more cheeky monkey than Disney Channel kind of cute.
Aged seven, the young actress seems to have grasped early how the star-system works. When we first met her in Cannes, she wouldn't give any interview, just photos. When Sean Baker's movie was rumored to get an Oscar though, she started featuring on the front page of cinema magazines, attending parties and appearing on prestigious TV shows.
Just check her Instagram account, featuring selfies with the likes of Robert Pattinson and Dave and James Franco (and yes, you can have an Instagram account at seven).
#4 Anthony Gonzalez, alias Miguel in Coco
Pixar is celebrating the end of the year with a heart-warming Mexican story. Obsessed with becoming a singer, Coco's Miguel has a row with the rest of his family, who banishes him to the Land of the Dead. There, he'll meet his ancestors, whose blessing he needs to be allowed back amongst the living.
In between guitars chords, the hero takes us for a trip to wonderful Mexico and its culture. Behind the animated character, we find a brilliant actor, comedian and voice wiz Anthony Gonzalez. He even sings Miguel's songs himself!
Only twelve, the young actor has already appeared in the series The Bridge and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. His talent as a singer has just warmed up the whole planet.
#5 Sareum Srey Moch, at the heart of a poignant polemic
First, they killed my father. Now here's a powerful and mournful title to herald the return of Angelina Jolie as a director. In this movie, far more powerful than her previous work Vue Sur Mer, Jolie tackles the poignant history of Cambodia.
The film, based on a true story, is about the life of a young Cambodian girl as she witnesses the Pol Pot regime and then the Khmer dictatorship and the terrible genocide they perpetrated.
Sareum Srey Moch plays the lead character, telling a tale of separation, of loss and of her family life being shattered. Her acting is deeply touching. The ten-year-old is also at the heart of a polemic centered on Jolie's casting choices: she apparently short-listed children who had been through traumatic events.
This casting method consisted of "improvisation games", which meant placing a sum of money in front of the kids and asking them to think really hard about how they would spend it... before taking the money away to see how they would react. Sareum Srey Moch apparently burst into tears, saying she thought about her grandfather and how her family couldn't give him a decent burial because they didn't have the money.
When the story came out, Jolie accused Vanity Fair of distorting her words, an accusation the magazine replied to by publishing an exact transcript of the interview.
#6 Jackson Robert Scott, the scariest of the lot
If you found the It reboot, directed by Andrés Muschietti, less scary than the original, we agree with you. Really. This being said, this cute little face under a yellow hood did stamp its mark on 2017's cinema.
Only nine, Jackson Robert Scott had a go at an iconic pop culture character, that of playing the victim of Pennywise the clown. He deserves to feature in this list just for that.
#7 Finn Wolfhard, here, there and everywhere
Finn Wolfhard featuring in this list has nothing to do with having binge-watched Stranger Things: he's really pretty good in It too. This year has shown that he's ready to take Hollywood by storm.
All eyes are on him and magazines are already publishing stories about his first 'diva tantrums '(he's refused to sign autographs). Some are recording his first rock concerts and others even want him to be in their videos.
He's fourteen, hugely popular and is rumored to star in the upcoming fantastic comedy Dog Days. Finn Wolfhard will be part of a gang of youngsters mysteriously interconnected with their pets. Well, if it flops, there's still season three of Stranger Things to look forward to anyway.
#8 Ahn Seo-hyun, a South Korean actress in Cannes
The fact that Okja was part of the official movies shortlisted at the Cannes festival was controversial. Films producers were unhappy that it was being considered as a possible entry given the fact that the movie was not going to be released in cinemas but only on TV through Netflix.
Six months after this clash, the movie was rumored to bag a Palme d'Or for special effects.
This ecological fable stars Ahn Seo-hyun, a 13-year-old South Korean actress whose best friend is a kind of hippo-rhino hybrid.
Ahn Seo-hyun's CV is pretty impressive. She's a model and started acting in 2008 in the series Love and Marriage, followed by a few movies, with among them The Housemaid, part of the official Cannes selection in 2010.
#9 Sunny Pawar, touching and wise
Lion, which landed six Oscars nominations, just had to be on this list. Based on real events, Lion is the story of an Indian orphan finally adopted by an Australian couple. The movie stars Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar, who plays his younger self.
Nicole Kidman, who plays his mother, taught him a few words of English, which came quite handy at the Oscars ceremony.
#10 Amiah Miller, a kid in times of war
At 13, Amiah Miller brings a bit bit of much-needed warmth in the stark blockbusters universe. Although she might be better known for her work as a model, she nonetheless shines in the latest installment of the Planet of the Apes franchise: adopted by Cesar and his crew, the young mute orphan loyally stands by her simian friends.
Before landing this prestigious role, Amiah Miller appeared in various series and in the horror flick Lights Out, released last year. The young actress obviously has what it takes to become a star, as she's been cast as the lead for the new screen adaptation of Anastasia, due in 2018.