Age: 15
Best projects: The Road (2009), Let Me In (2010), ParaNorman (2012)

For such a young kid, Kodi Smit-McPhee doesn’t show much fear. Just look at the two films he’s headlined so far. First was 2009’s The Road, the heavy and at times brutal look at a nameless father (Viggo Mortensen) and son (Smit-McPhee) trekking through a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of cannibals and murderous thieves. A year later, he forged a tight-knit bond with an enigmatic little vampire (Chloë Moretz) in the decidedly grown-up horror film Let Me In.

The shared characteristic between those two genre standouts: an outstanding performance from Smit-McPhee. So who can blame him for lightening his workload up a bit in this summer’s animated romp ParaNorman, in which he voices a picked-on kid whose gift of speaking with the dead enables him to be the hero during a monster outbreak. It’s not like he hasn’t earned the chance to have some fun.