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Nicholas Hoult and Benedict Cumberbatch are the movie stars to watch in 2013

By Dorothy Pomerantz

Every year brings a crop of hot new stars to watch. Sometimes those stars exceed expectations like Jennifer Lawrence, star of "The Hunger Games" and "Silver Linings Playbook," did last year. And sometimes they fall flat on their faces. I'm looking at you, Taylor Kitsch.

For 2013, the first up-and-comer who gets to prove himself is Nicholas Hoult. You might remember him as the precocious kid from the 2002 Hugh Grant movie "About a Boy". Hoult, now 23, has appeared in a slew of films since then, most notably "X-Men First Class" where he played Beast.

But in 2013, he'll headline two reasonably big films: "Warm Bodies" and "Jack The Giant Slayer". In "Warm Bodies," which hits theaters in February, he'll play a zombie in love. Then in March, he'll play Jack in a modern take on the classic fairy tale, "Jack and the Beanstalk".

More on In pictures: Movie stars to watch in 2013

Neither film is a slam dunk. Although "Warm Bodies" is getting some momentum, it's a tough sell beyond fans of the book. Jack has a pretty snazzy new trailer and it smartly hits theaters in March, a month that used to be a Hollywood dead zone until "The Hunger Games" proved that people will still go to the theaters in March if there's something worth seeing.

Bing: More on 'Warm Bodies' | More about Nicholas Hoult

Another star we're keeping an eye on this year is Benedict Cumberbatch. The British actor already has legions of fans from his work on Sherlock, an update of Arthur Conan Doyle's detective series. This year he'll costar in one of the most anticipated movies of 2013: "Star Trek Into Darkness". There's been a lot of speculation that the character Cumberbatch is playing is Khan, the bad guy from the second "Star Trek" movie in 1982. But the star has said his character's name is John Harrison.

Fans will also be able to hear (but not see) Cumberbatch in the upcoming sequel to "The Hobbit". Cumberbatch voices the dragon, Smaug.

Alice Englert is another young actor who has a chance to break out big this year. She'll star in "Beautiful Creatures" which hits theaters February 13th. Based on a best-selling young adult series, the film's producers are hoping they have the next "Hunger Games" on their hands which could make New Zealand native Englert the next Jennifer Lawrence. Englert comes from a movie background, her mother is director Jane Campion. This is the first time she'll headline a movie. "Beautiful Creatures" is about a coven of witches living in the deep south and costars Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson.

Also be on the lookout for Jim Carrey this year. Carrey is, of course, one of the biggest movie stars around but over the past few years, he's mostly been focused on safe family films (except for the little seen "I Love You Phillip Morris".) This year he'll take on two edgier roles. He plays a Criss Angel like magician in "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" and "Colonel Stars and Stripes" in the sequel to 2010's darkly funny take on superheroes, "Kick-Ass".

Speaking of superheroes, Henry Cavill also makes our list of stars to watch. The young actor, best known for his work in "The Immortals," is the latest to take on the role of Superman. Brandon Routh tried in 2006 with "Superman Returns" but the film didn't live up to expectations earning $390 million at the box office on a budget of $270 million. Warner Bros. is hoping to see better results with "Man of Steel" which hits theaters this summer. With his square good deeds, Superman has become a tough sell in the age of tortured superheroes like Batman. But if the film is a hit, Cavill could be on his way to becoming the next Christian Bale.

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Jan 7, 2013 3:58PM
benedict is already a household name for legions of people, period.  between tv, movies, radio and theater, he's done more work in 3 years than most actors do in 10..and done it better, to boot. cant wait to see him in star trek!
Jan 7, 2013 4:06PM
Benedict Cumberbatch is an amazing actor!  I think 2013 is his year!!!!
Jan 7, 2013 5:02PM
Jan 7, 2013 3:25PM
I think Hoult is a very good actor, I saw him in the "Skins (UK)" series. I thought there were some pretty good actors in the first two generation of the UK series. Good luck to the guy!
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