Hollywood is a fickle mistress. Careers rise & fall as often as the tides in front of her Malibu estate. But her town is definitely the province of the young and the ten young men & ten young women who make up our lists of hottest rising stars seem to be poised to rule it. Only time (& box office grosses) will tell. Today we explore the women; Wednesday the men.

1. Jessica Chastain
Chastain burst onto to the scene in 2011. The Northern California native has had five films released since May. But she is hardly an overnight success. She attended the Julliard School on a scholarship and landed a talent holding deal with John Wells Productions (E.R., The West Wing), right out of school, after Wells saw her perform in a school showcase. This garnered her several TV guest spots on Wells’ E.R. and other shows. Al Pacino then hand-picked Chastain for his stage production of Oscar Wilde’s Salome (a documentary of the production will be released next year) which lead to a successful audition for Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life in which she starred opposite Brad Pitt.  Next she shot The Debt in which she played a young Helen Mirren. Both films were shot in 2008/2009 but weren’t released until a few months ago (one of the many reasons for her film pile-up in 2011). And the train kept going at that pace. In quick succession she was cast in Take Shelter, The Help, Coriolanus and Texas Killing Fields, playing wildly different characters in each. And there is no sign of the train stopping. She has already shot another, as yet untitled, film for Malick and Wettest County alongside Gary Oldman & Tom Hardy. Next up she’ll star opposite Tom Cruise in Horizons and then play Princess Diana in Caught in Flight. Whew!

2. Jennifer Lawrence
Lawrence is already an Oscar nominee for last year’s Winter’s Bone, though that film, while critically acclaimed, didn’t reach a very wide audience. But that wasn’t a problem she had to live with for long. The actress, who, prior to Bone, was already known in industry circles for her gritty portrayals of troubled youths in such independent films as Poker House and The Burning Plain seamlessly made the transition to big-budget studio fare playing a young ‘Mystique’ in X-Men: First Class while still sticking to her indie roots with key roles in films like The Beaver, Like Crazy, and the forthcoming House at the End of the Street. Next she got her own franchise with the lead in The Hunger Games, a planned trilogy based on the popular novels that hopes to fill the void left by the Twilight films. The first installment is already in the can.  Lawrence is currently filming David O. Russell’s The Silver Linings Playbook in which she stars alongside Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper.

3. Rooney Mara
Mara was just another working actress doing guest spots on TV and the occasional role in mostly forgettable films until 2009 when she successfully auditioned for the small but pivotal role of Mark Zuckerberg’s girlfriend in David Fincher’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, The Social Network. Fincher was impressed with her work and put her in the mix for the lead in his next movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first of a trilogy based on the best selling novels. The role, Lisbeth Salender, was one the most coveted in Hollywood history: Others who reportedly auditioned included Scarlett Johansson, Carey Mulligan, Ellen Page and Mia Wasikowska. But it is said that Fincher always knew it would be Mara. The film hasn’t even come out yet and it has already made her famous. She now has her pick of roles and she’s choosing carefully. She has only accepted one so far and that’s Terrence Malick’s Lawless in which she stars alongside Ryan Gosling, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale.

4. Brit Marling
Marling graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in economics and was offered a job at Goldman Sachs but turned it down in favor of a career in the arts. She began co-writing and co-directing documentaries with her best friend (and ex-boyfriend) Mike Cahill while still at school. Soon she set her sights on acting and the pair moved to Los Angeles to purse careers in Hollywood: Her in front of the camera, him behind. But she found it impossible to break through the catch-22 of not being able to get work without an agent and not being able to get an agent without having done work. So she began writing movies tailor made for her to star in. She managed to get two made and accepted into this year’s Sundance Film Festival: Another Earth which she co-wrote and co-produced with Cahill who directed and Sound of My Voice which she co-wrote and co-produced with Zal Batmanglij who directed. Both were extremely well-received and both were picked up for distribution by Fox-Searchlight. Another Earth had an art-house release over the summer to favorable reviews. Sound of My Voice is still awaiting a release date. Now the world is at her feet. She has signed with, CAA, the biggest talent agency in the world and has offers pouring in. She was simultaneously pursued by Robert Redford and Tom Cruise for starring roles in their upcoming films. Redford won. She is currently filming his The Company You Keep in which she shares the screen with Redford, Shia LeBeouf, Julie Christie, Nick Nolte & Susan Sarandon. She has also booked a lead opposite Richard Gere in Nicholas Jarecki’s Arbitrage and is in production on her next project with Batmanglij, The East, which she also co-wrote.

5. Amber Heard
Heard dropped out of school at 17 and left her hometown in Austin, Texas to pursue a modeling career in New York, which she accomplished – and quickly grew bored of. She then moved to Los Angeles to try her hand at acting. She soon started booking TV guest spots and supporting roles in movies. After two years of such work she landed a significant dramatic role as a young Charlize Theron in North Country which got people’s attention. The next project that garnered her recognition was, oddly enough, the title role in a low budget horror movie called All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, that didn’t even get a theatrical release in the U.S. It was pure buzz – a combination of what the film’s title said about her, it’s success at festivals and the fact that Harvey Weinstein picked it up (even though he sat on it). In any case, it opened doors. In 2008 she showed that she is equally adept at comedy and drama with significant roles in the dramatic Never Back Down and the comedy hit, Pineapple Express, which widened her audience substantially. She continued to work steadily in films of various successes thereafter. But in 2011 she reached a new plateau landing starring roles opposite Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary (reportedly beating out Scarlett Johansson & Keira Knightly) and Nicolas Cage in Drive Angry. She will next be seen starring in the indie Syrup and will soon shoot Albert Hughes’ Motor City.

6. Elizabeth Olsen
The younger sister of the famous Olsen Twins, Elizabeth only started auditioning last year while finishing her senior year at NYU ‘s film school. But it didn’t take long for her career to catch fire. She had a coming out doubleheader at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where she was the star of two of its most buzzed about films: Martha Marcy May Marlene, in which she plays a girl who escapes from a cult, and Silent House a film that uses a single camera shot to follow her character, a terrified girl descending into madness, around an abandoned summer house. And those weren’t the only films she had making festival rounds this year. Director Bruce Beresford’s Peace, Love and Misunderstanding, in which she stars opposite Jane Fonda & Catherine Keener played this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and was recently picked-up by IFC Films. She’s now working in the big leagues as she has already completed leads in two high-profile films: Red Lights, in which she stars opposite Robert De Niro, and Liberal Arts co-starring Zac Efron. Next up she’ll star opposite Glenn Close in the title role of Therese Raquin, a spooky crime drama/thriller, and then share the screen with Dustin Hoffman, Dakota Fanning & Peter Sarsgaard in Very Good Girls.

7. Felicity Jones
Jones first became known to audiences in her native Britain as a school bully in the series Worst Witch but it is the far more nuanced work she did in her breakout film, this year’s Like Crazy (which is earning her heaps of awards including the Special Jury Prize at Sundance and lots of Oscar buzz) that has her now competing for, and often winning, some of Hollywood’s most coveted roles. Warren Beatty, for example, has chosen her as the female lead in his long gestating film about an affair that Howard Hughes (Beatty) had with a younger women (Jones) during the late years of his life. She again beat out the crème-de-la-crème of ingenuous for Ralph Fiennes’ The Invisible Woman in which she will play Charles Dickens’ mistress. But, before those films come out, we will have a chance to see her in a slew of other films she’s been landing, including Hysteria, in which she stars opposite Maggie Gyllenhaal, and her Like Crazy director, Drake Doremus’ next untitled film in which she stars opposite Guy Pearce.

8. Freida Pinto
Pinto was a model and television host who had done no acting apart from a few school plays when, after her first six months of auditioning, she landed the role of a lifetime – the female lead in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire which went on to win Best Picture at the 2009 Academy Awards. Hollywood of course came calling for the Indian beauty and the world’s finest directors began stepping over each other to work with her. First up was Woody Allen with You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. Next, Julian Schnabel, the renowned artist and filmmaker, cast her in the title role of his film Miral. Then, she made room for a starring role in a studio juggernaut, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, opposite James Franco, but went right back to the auteurs: Michael Winterbottom cast her in the title role of his feature, Trishna, and then Jean-Jacques Annaud cast her as an Arab Princess in Black Gold in which she starred opposite Antonio Banderas.  Currently, Pinto can be seen in the 3D epic fantasy, Immortals, in which she stars opposite Mickey Rourke, Henry Cavill and John Hurt. She has not announced her next project yet.

9. Emily Browning
Browning is a young Australian actress with an unusually expressive face who has gotten nearly as much attention for some of the roles she’s turned down as one’s she’s filmed; Most notably the role of ‘Bella’ in the Twilight series.  Starting as a child actress, her first major role was in Ghost Ship, a horror mystery that was filmed in Australia. The following year she shared the screen with the late Heath Ledger in Ned Kelly. But it was her next film, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, starring opposite Jim Carrey, which brought her international attention.  She is clearly interested in characters who are dealing with extreme mental states as virtually all of her next roles involve this:  In The Uninvited her character has just been released from a mental institution and is in a fragile mental state. She followed that up with Zach Snyder’s big-budget, Sucker Punch, in which her character has just been unjustly committed but has the mental strength of ten men.  In the recently completed Sleeping Beauty, her most controversial film to date (which polarized audiences at this year’s Cannes Film Festival), her character works in a kind of high-end prostitution that involves no sex but requires her to be fondled by strangers while in a sedated state – until curiosity about what happens to her while she is ‘sleeping’ gets the better of her.  And her next film, Magic, Magic will be no exception. Her character will mentally unravel while vacationing with friends (Michael Cera, Juno Temple) who ignore her claims until it is too late.

10. Lily Collins
Collins began her career as a kid journalist who wrote for magazines such as Teen Vogue and Seventeen and covered the 2008 U.S. presidential election for Nickelodeon.  Her first acting job was on the new 90210. She got her big break when she was cast as ‘Collins Tuohy’ in the hit film The Blind Side in which she played Sandra Bullock’s daughter. Her next role was in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi film Priest in which she played Paul Bettany’s imperiled niece whom all the action of the film revolves around. Next was a straight-ahead action movie, Abduction, starring opposite Taylor Lautner. Then, in a whirlwind casting process, in which she was auditioned, sent to meet the director, and hired within 24 hours, she landed the lead in Mirror Mirror, playing ‘Snow White’ opposite Julia Roberts’ Evil Queen – a dream role for her as she loved fairy tales growing up. Mirror Mirror will be released in March. In the meantime she is filming the comedy/drama The English Teacher opposite Julianne Moore and then will segue into the lead role of ‘Clary Fray’ in The Mortal Instruments a fantasy/mystery/romance based on the novel by Cassandra Clare. It is also worth noting that Lily is the daughter of famed musician Phil Collins.