Every year, a slew of young actors, musicians and other assorted notables emerge from the pack, generally thanks to one particular, transcendent "moment." From that point on, they are on a different plane, recognized by a greater swath of the population, trailed by growing throngs of paparazzi, and eventually (in some cases) known by first-name only. Below are eight people who will look back on 2010 as the year they arrived.
1. Emma Stone. Though she had pulled off winning turns in "Superbad," "The House Bunny" and "Zombieland" prior to this year, Stone did not ascend to "Breakout Status" until 2010. Her starring role in the teen comedy "Easy A" represented a perfect union of star and project; it seemed like Stone was tailor-made to deliver the barbs, sass and vulnerability required of her in the script. She also hosted "Saturday Night Live" quite smoothly, started dating "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" standout Kieran Culkin and nabbed the coveted role of Gwen Stacy in the "Spider-Man" reboot (opposite fellow 2010 breakout Andrew Garfield). Not bad. Her "Moment": The delightful "Pocketful of Sunshine" scene in the opening minutes of "Easy A."
2. Tom Hardy. If you left "Inception" this summer talking as much about the thick-lipped, uber-masculine guy who played Eames as you did about the ridiculously complex plot, you were not alone. Though he shared the screen with a bevy of well-known actors and actresses, Hardy managed to steal scenes and make an indelible impression in the summer blockbuster. He also gained some tabloid-y attention for his revelation that he had been intimately involved with men in the past (a claim, though, which seems like it may have been taken out of context). In any event, we're going to be seeing lots more Hardy over the next few years, as the actor has scored parts opposite Reese Witherspoon in "This Means War" and in the new "Batman" sequel. His "Moment": His playful "Dream A Little Bigger" scene opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "Inception."
3. Bruno Mars. It was impossible to turn on the the radio this year without hearing a song that Bruno Mars had something to do with. He provided vocals for B.o.B.'s "Nothin' On You" and Travie McCoy's "Billionaire," co-wrote Cee-Lo's "Fuck You," and then released two hits of his own ("Grenade" and "Just The Way You Are") later in the year. Additionally, "Glee" featured an episode with two of his songs; and he pulled off two excellent "Saturday Night Live" performances mere weeks after getting busted for cocaine possession in Vegas (OK, so maybe not everything about his 2010 was perfect). His "Moment": His "Saturday Night Live" performance of "Nothin' on You" and "Grenade," the latter of which is now lodged in the top spot on the iTunes singles chart.
4. Jennifer Lawrence. Sure, Natalie Portman or Annette Bening will likely end up taking the Best Actress Oscar come February, but Lawrence -- barring some catastrophic oversight -- will be there right beside them, thanks to her remarkable performance as a 17-year-old trying to track down her father in dire circumstances in "Winter's Bone." And while Lawrence clearly has acting chops, she could also run laps around most of the contestants on "America's Next Top Model," as she proved in a steamy Esquire photo shoot earlier this year. Lawrence will get wider exposure next year, when she stars as Mystique in Matthew Vaughn's "X-Men: First Class." Her "Moment": All of "Winter's Bone." (If you haven't already, be sure to add this one to your Netflix queue ASAP.)
5. Darren Criss. The man responsible for the best-selling "Glee" track ever, Criss became an instant object of tweenage affection from the minute he appeared on the Fox show this fall. Playing a gay, role model-y figure for Kurt (who, in many ways, has come to embody the show's heart in this second season), Criss' Blaine is a refreshing and different kind of character in the TV universe. Criss, who was previously best known for his role in the web series "A Very Potter Musical," has been regularly selling out gigs since his "Glee" debut. His "Moment": His performance of "Teenage Dream."
6. Rooney Mara. While "The Social Network" gave a nice bump to the careers of several actors -- Justin Timberlake, future "Spider-Man" Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer -- the boost it gave to Rooney Mara's may have been the most significant. Though she only had two scenes in the film, she managed to utterly captivate, so much so that David Fincher picked her to play Lisbeth Salander in the hotly-anticipated "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" films. Her "Moment": Her opening scene with Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) in which she tells him "Dating you is like dating a stairmaster."
7. Alison Brie. The cast of "Community" is filled with breakout stars, as the wonderful ensemble has reached absurdly great heights in its second season. But what makes Brie's work so impressive in particular is that not only is she pitch perfect as goody-goody Annie on "Community," she also is a stand out on "Mad Men" as Trudy Campbell, a character and show that could not be more different from her NBC comedy. Her "Moment": Her "chloroform" scene opposite Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) in this season's second episode.
8. Kate Middleton. Of course, we all knew Middleton already as Prince William's pretty, brunette girlfriend, but now she is Prince William's pretty, brunette fiancee... and that, of course, has made all the difference. With everything she wears selling out immediately and every move she makes spurring thousands of blog posts, one can only imagine what the Middleton Mania will be like as the April wedding draws even closer. Her "Moment": The blue Issa dress she sported in the official engagement photo sells out everywhere within hours.
- Emma Stone