From Superbad to Superstardom – How Emma Stone Became Hollywood’s Golden Girl 

From Superbad to Superstardom – How Emma Stone Became Hollywood’s Golden Girl 

In December 2023, Emma Stone joined the ranks of one of the most elite groups in the entertainment industry: the Five-Timers Club, a small group of actors and entertainers who have hosted Saturday Night Live five (or more) times. And at only 35 years old, Stone is now the youngest member of this exclusive club. So what sets her apart from contemporaries who rose to prominence in the studio comedy heyday of the early aughts but failed to reach these heights? The answer is deceptively simple: Stone has the range. 

Known for her preternatural screen-stealing abilities across almost any genre you could imagine — from psychological thrillers, musicals, Disney blockbusters and cringe-comedies alike — Stone is a definitive Hollywood It Girl. Her reputation is well-earned, but how did she manage this meteoric rise? Here’s a deeper dive into Stone’s remarkable Hollywood ascent.


Credit: 2022 Wireimage

Comedy Beginnings 

Stone’s career kicked off as many do — with an early-life move to L.A. and a childhood’s worth of community theater credits under her belt. Shortly after, she debuted as the punchy girl-next-door love interest in the blockbuster crude-comedy Superbad. Quippy supporting roles in a slew of additional comedies showed off her early knack for dry comedy and impeccable timing. 

Her breakout starring role as protagonist Olive Penderghast in the beloved teen comedy Easy A, a cheeky twist on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, catapulted Stone into household name status. Her performance perfectly showcases her theatrical range — a precocious, razor-sharp high schooler caught up in an outlandish sex scandal; equal parts unconventional outcast and alluring, confident ingénue. Critics and audiences ate it up, earning Stone her first Golden Globe nomination and setting her on a fast track to Hollywood stardom.


Credit: 2007 WireImage

The Breakthrough

Following the success of Easy A, Stone continued apace down the well-trodden studio-comedy path, including roles in star-studded Crazy Stupid Love and Friends With Benefits. At only 23, frustrated with her continued typecasting as the “sarcastic sidekick,” Stone starred in the 2011 adaptation of the bestselling novel The Help. While the film has since received criticism for its “white savior” overtones, this period drama pivot highlighted her ability to portray a more serious character with depth and nuance. She wasted no time continuing to parlay this side on the silver screen, co-starring in two Spiderman adaptations and earning her first supporting actress Oscar nomination for her role in Birdman

In 2016, Stone took her stardom to the next level in Damien Chazelle’s musical drama La La Land, delivering a dancing, singing, heart-tugging showstopper of a performance as barista-cum-aspiring-actress Mia. She swept that awards season, winning Best Actress honors at the Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTAs and the SAG awards.

Before turning 30, Stone had already earned herself more awards, acclaim and recognition than most actresses do in a lifetime; the film world was her oyster. In recent years, she has preferred toothier roles in psychological thrillers, often ones that highlight the taboo underbelly of femininity. Notably, she co-starred with Olivia Coleman in psychosexual royal thriller The Favourite, then as the titular Cruella in Disney’s feature Dalmatians spinoff. And even more recently, a moment on the small screen alongside Nathan Fielder in twisted HGTV-parody series The Curse, and as the Frankenstein’s-Monster-esque protagonist in 2023’s Poor Things, for which she has already won yet another Golden Globe.


Credit: Atsushi Nishijima/Searchlight Pictures

What’s Next?

Stone has entered yet another new era, and she shows no sign of slowing down now. With collaborations with Yorgos Lanthimos in the works and a follow-up to 2021’s Cruella, her star isn’t dimming anytime soon. As we await her upcoming projects, one thing is sure: Stone is here to stay, and her talent and range will likely continue to surprise and enthrall us for years to come.

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