Another round of living legends vs. young ingeues
Samantha Barks, 'Les Miserables'
Pro: A young, gifted singer makes her name on a TV reality show before landing a plum role – her film debut – in a big-screen adaptation of a hit stage musical. It's a narrative that swept Jennifer Hudson to an Oscar win in 2006, and it could do the same for 22 year-old British sensation Barks, who came third on the BBC show “I'd Do Anything” before perfecting the role of Eponine in the London stage production of “Les Mis” in 2010. It's a choice role, both dramatically and musically, affording her one of the show's most soaring solos, “On My Own.” on stage in London to rave reviews. For producers to cast a relative unknown in such a key role, amid an otherwise starry ensemble, suggests they think she has something special.
Con: Barks faces formidable internal competition from her more famous co-star Anne Hathaway, who arrives with far more advance hype. To announce herself as the surprise package of the race, the young Brit's performance will really have to blow audiences away.
- Guy Lodge