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Stars of tomorrow It’s hard to predict the future, but these entertainers are likely to have staying power

Press of Atlantic City, January 17, 2010

For the most part, movie and music stars took a beating during the last decade.

There were exceptions. New careers were successfully launched in music, for instance Taylor Swift and Rihanna. Hilary Swank proved her first best actress Academy Award wasn't a fluke as she won her second Oscar by the age of 30.

No one can look into a crystal ball and predict the future and knows if this trio's success will last, but some area music and film experts have opinions on who will remain hot 10 years from now.

In the music industry, the downloading of music worked against superstars who didn't deliver the goods. Digital files allow listeners to cherry pick which songs they want to listen to or buy from a music act's newest release. The days of being stuck with a full-length CD with only one or two good songs on it are over.

CD sales have been off 50 percent since 2000. Digital music has not sold enough to offset the loss.

This has become the age of the single, and singles artists can turn into flash in the pans. Vertical Horizon, Blu Cantrell and Vanessa Carlton are among those who couldn't sustain the success they had at the start of the new millennium with hit songs.

The movie business hasn't been much better for stars. Films using computer-generated images rule the day as some of the biggest blockbusters of all time have been released since 2000, including "The Dark Knight," "Avatar" and "Spider-Man."

Will Smith, Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt don't need to be hired when an already established superhero or special effects will be the star.

It's always been tough to make it in the movie business, but without landing a part in a film franchise, developing a comic persona or having obtained a following from TV work, it has become even harder.

Even if an actor achieves success, there is no guarantee they can stay separated from the rest of the working actor pack.

Adrien Brody won an Oscar for "The Pianist" in 2002 and starred in "King Kong" in 2005, but hasn't been in a hit film since. Helen Hunt starred in "What Women Want" and "Pay It Forward," but lead movie roles have been scarce for her since then. Halle Berry won the lead actress Oscar for "Monster's Ball" in 2001 and starred in the James Bond film "Die Another Day" in 2002, but hasn't starred in a commercially successful film built around her since.

The upcoming Grammy and Academy awards close the award season for the music and movie business for last year. The events also wrap up the first decade of the new millennium.

It is against this backdrop, which will surely see more changes in both industries in the years ahead, that The Press posed a question to various movie and music experts in southern New Jersey. They were asked which music stars, film actors, actresses and directors - who came on the scene during the last decade - do they think will still be successful and doing quality work 10 years from now?

Joseph Stinson, creative director, Cape May Film Festival

"Joseph Gordon-Levitt appeared in television and film in the 1990s, but really came to prominence in the new millennium with works like ‘The Lookout' and most recently with ‘(500) Days of Summer.'

Matthew M. Turner, employee, Blockbuster Video store in Seaville, Upper Township

"Zooey Deschanel is who I believe will continue to produce high-quality work within the next 10 years. She has risen as a star since the very beginning of her career, especially during the last two years. This year, she starred in the movie ‘(500) Days of Summer,' which has been praised by critics and fans alike, and I too agree it was a magnificent movie. She also played in other movies such as ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,' ‘Elf' and more recently, in 2008, she starred alongside Jim Carrey in ‘Yes Man.'

David Von Roehm, film/TV teacher, Charter-Tech High School for the Performing Arts, Somers Point

"Mark Wahlberg has carried 15 films as lead from 2000 to 2009, and most have been huge successes with the public and the box office. What puts him over the top here as a continuing threat in the next decade is his decision to move into producing via his company ‘Closest to the Hole,' which produced ‘In Treatment' and ‘Entourage' (loosely based on his life) for HBO and the much anticipated ‘Boardwalk Empire' - based on the history of organized crime in Atlantic City.'

Theresa Hawkins, film society coordinator, Atlantic City Free Public Library

"Even though Christoph Waltz is primarily known as a German television actor, this one role, as Col. Hans Landa in ‘Inglourious Basterds,' if he plays his cards right, is going to carry him into the next decade probably as a star and definitely as an actor to watch and an actor that will be respected."

Scott Lefferson, general manager, Tilton 9 movie theater, Northfield

"Director Peter Jackson, he did all three ‘Lord of the Rings' during this decade. He is going to be doing ‘The Hobbit,' producing them. ‘The Lovely Bones' came out this month, and he also produced ‘District 9,' which was an amazing movie."

Josh Cutler, runs the film series at the Milton & Betty Katz Jewish Community Center, Margate

"Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill made a couple of great films in the last couple of years for teenagers and those college age. In 10 years, those teenagers and college kids will be young adults, who will grow to love them, I believe."

Steve Gietka, vice president of entertainment, Trump Entertainment Resorts, Atlantic City

"In a business that chews up and quickly discards the weak, I bet my money on Kings of Leon. They've been slow and steady and have embraced old-fashioned hard (relentless touring) to earn fans. The band delivers an exciting rock performance that isn't predicated on overblown production."

Joe Lupo, senior vice president of operations for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City

"In a very short time frame, Lady Gaga has made an impact on pop culture. Her eclectic style, talent and stage theatrics continue to cement her as an artist who will be talked about."

Scott Reilly, music director, WJSE-FM 102.7, out of Linwood

"Only one band stands out for me that will continue to ‘rock' for the next 10 years, Linkin Park... They are a band that understands putting out an album is a huge undertaking and instead of throwing one out every year, they release quality albums after years of work. The phrase is quality, not quantity, and Linkin Park understand that statement."

Shawn Wright, professionally known as DJ Able, a Pleasantville resident

"Kanye West has released four commercially successful and critically acclaimed studio albums as a solo artist from 2004 to 2008... If he continues to grow with the changing times, his music will continue to appeal to the masses."

Kevin Robinson, known professionally as DJ Swoosh, an Atlantic City area resident

"Kanye West could take off for a year or two and comeback to do the performances that he does or produce and make beats. He has the pop crowd, the hip-hop crowd, and he has the house (music) crowd. He's not just a performer for hip-hop and rap."

Derek L. Jones, assistant station manager, WGLS-FM 89.7, Rowan Radio at Rowan University, Glassboro, Gloucester County

"My choice for who will be around in 2019 will be Carrie Underwood... She is only 26 and has the advantage of being a part of a pop-country genre that gives her an ability to still be relevant to the general public in 10 years."