Which new names in music, movies and TV made the biggest impact?
Next gallery »2012 Best Supporting Actress Contenders
« Previous galleryThe Lists: In Contention's Top 10 Craft Contributions to Martin Scorsese Films
Rate This Image
Rank 17 | Avg. 6.0
What hit in 2011: "Awkward"
What's next: Season two of "Awkward"
Lowdown: It was a great year for fish-out-of-water stories about seemingly odd girls who ended up feeling universally relatable. This Breakout slot could just as easily have gone to Zooey Deschanel for "The New Girl" or to Jane Levy for "Suburgatory." We're recognizing Rickards, though, because of her role as the center of MTV's unlikely comedy hit "Awkward." Lauren Iungerich's boundary-pushing, 21st Century John Hughes-style look at high school required a leading lady who could do nothing less than deliver large chunks of biting, jargon-heavy dialogue while being constantly humiliated, while simultaneously never seeming too pathetic and or certainly ever seeming too cool. In short, "Awkward" required a Molly Ringwald for a new generation and Rickards consistently delivered, never showing embarrassment and yet never sacrificing her character's dignity and realism. Not bad for a 19-year-old actress whose most visible previous credit was a run on "One Tree Hill." A fall guest-starring spot on FX's "American Horror Story" only made us more anxious for Rickards to return for the second season of "Awkward."
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan