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In the years surrounding his brief role as an unsuspecting husband in Love Actually, Ejiofor was one of the industry's premier "that guy" actors, popping up in small parts in big films like Inside Man and Children of Men, as well as anchoring indies like Dirty Pretty Things and Kinky Boots. Now with his star-making turn in 12 Years a Slave, this London-born actor is poised for major Oscar buzz.
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January Jones barely has any lines in Love Actually; she plays one of the American babes who hooks up with Kris Marshall's nerdy Brit at the very end – not the sort of role an actress can really sink her teeth into. Four years later, Jones landed the plum role of Betty Draper on TV's Mad Men, which let her play all the notes (and wear all the costumes) of a privileged and petulant 1960s ice queen.
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In Love Actually, Freeman's brief role as an ultra-naked, ultra-adorable stand-in introduced him to American viewers who hadn't yet caught his stint on the U.K. version of The Office. After years of small parts at home, Freeman nabbed not one but two iconic literary roles: Watson in BBC's Sherlock and Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit series. His understated charm has gained Freeman a legion of fans on both sides of the Atlantic.
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As a 54-year-old veteran with more than 60 screen credits to his name, Bill Nighy was hardly an unknown when Love Actually was released. Still, his scene-stealing role as aging rocker Billy Mack propelled him to a new level of visibility, as the made-for-TV movies and indie films on his resume were quickly replaced by roles in Hollywood blockbuster series like the Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter.
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Finally, a child star we don't need to be worried about! Brodie-Sangster, who played lovelorn moppet Sam in Love Actually has grown into a serious young actor, trying his hand at everything from Phineas and Ferb to Game of Thrones. He's still got those same twinkling eyes, though.
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