The AP names its Breakthrough Entertainers of 2017
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The AP names its Breakthrough Entertainers of 2017

The overnight success story in Hollywood is as much of a fairytale as its movies. Years of training, sacrifice and failed attempts at stardom typically define the experience of entertainers before that breakthrough moment occurs.

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This combination photo shows, top row from left, director Patty Jenkins, actress Brooklynn Prince, actress Beanie Feldstein, singer SZA, and bottom row from left, actress Bianca Lawson, actor Daniel Kaluuya, comedian-actor Kumail Nanjiani and actress Millicent Simmond, who have had their breakthrough moment in 2017. (AP Photo)

But when it happens, things change overnight — as Daniel Kayuula found after he starred in "Get Out." He went from playing bit parts in movies to having deep conversations about race with total strangers at music festivals.

Millicent Simmonds, the 12-year-old star of "Wonderstruck," found herself at Cannes Film Festival, where none other than Will Smith called her acting "amazing," leaving her thunderstruck.

For the first time, The Associated Press is spotlighting key entertainers who had that breakthrough moment in 2017. The Breakthrough Entertainers includes relative newcomers, such as actors Beanie Feldstein and Brooklynn Prince and singer-songwriter SZA. But it also includes established names — director Patty Jenkins, actress Bianca Lawson and actor-writer Kumail Nanjiani — who had a transformative year that took them to another level.

All had indelible moments in entertainment — making them AP's Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year.