These six stars had a great (and very visible) 2013

Idris Elba
Where You’ve Seen Him He came back for season 3 of BBC America’s Luther, waged war in Pacific Rim and Thor: The Dark World, and portrayed a legendary political icon in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

On His Year “There’s no real connection between the roles,” says Elba, 41, a Golden Globe double nominee for Mandela and Luther. “I personally feel I’m sort of a character actor that gets leading positions.”

Where You’ll See Him In 2014 As a criminal in No Good Deed (out Sept. 12). —Jeff Labrecque

Natalie Dormer
Where You’ve Seen Her Pulling strings on HBO’s Game of Thrones and CBS’ Elementary; romancing Chris Hemsworth in Rush and Brad Pitt in The Counselor.

On Her Year Dormer, 31, specializes in masters of manipulation like her conniving Games character, Margaery. Her strategy? Play these characters “as sincerely and straight as possible,” leaving their motives up to interpretation.

Where You’ll See Her In 2014 Thrones and Elementary, plus The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (Nov. 21), as film director Cressida. —Hillary Busis

James Badge Dale
Where You’ve Seen Him He tried to kill Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, fought zombies in World War Z, mentored the Lone Ranger, and played Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother in Parkland.

On His Year Dale is finally embracing the career path he rejected at age 11 after starring in the 1990 film Lord of the Flies. “I quickly realized this is work,” says the actor, 35. “And all I wanted to do was play hockey with my friends.”

Where You’ll See Him In 2014 The indie Western A Relative Stranger. —Jeff Labrecque

Margo Martindale
Where You’ve Seen Her As a volatile socialite on NBC’s Smash, a KGB handler on FX’s The Americans, Nick’s widowed mom on Fox’s New Girl, the flatulent matriarch on CBS’ The Millers, and a bickering wife in August: Osage County.

On Her Year “I’m sure people are going to be sick to death of me soon,” says Martindale, 62. [Editor’s note: Not possible.]

Where You’ll See Her In 2014 The Millers and The Americans, as well as the Greg Kinnear drama Heaven Is for Real (out April 16). —Jessica Shaw

Demian Bichir
Where You’ve Seen Him Taking fire in The Heat and Machete Kills; sleuthing around on FX’s The Bridge.

On His Year The Bridge has special meaning for Bichir, 50, since it takes place partly in his home country of Mexico. “We needed something that could talk about the problems on both sides of the border,” says the actor. “It’s always very sad how sometimes either side washes their hands and blames the other.”

Where You’ll See Him In 2014 The Bridge (season 2 airs next summer). —Tim Stack

Julianne Nicholson
Where You’ve Seen Her Trading barbs with Meryl and Julia in August: Osage County and playing doctor on Showtime’s Masters of Sex.

On Her Year While filming a driving scene with Osage costar Meryl Streep, Nicholson, 42, was awed by Streep’s ability to snap into character. “Suddenly the whole car is full of feeling, and it was suffocating, in the best way. Just sitting next to her makes you better.”

Where You’ll See Her In 2014 Sundance Channel’s miniseries The Red Road. —Sean Smith