Where you’ve seen her: Guesting on top TV comedies (Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) and appearing in quality, big-screen indies (Jeff, Who Lives at Home) and Oscar-caliber hits (The Descendants).
Why you should know her name: For her tragi-comedy chops and mastery of vulnerable rage — as demonstrated in The Descendants when she tearfully goes off on George Clooney’s comatose wife.
What she’s doing next: Appearing in the Netflix relaunch of Arrested Development and the horror remake Carrie. She’ll also release an autobiographical essay collection (scheduled for 2014), I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star.
Where you’ve seen her: First as Jolene, Flo’s replacement on CBS’ Alice in the 1980s, before shining on Broadway stages and in decades of your favorite indie hits (see below).
Why you should know her name: For one hauntingly nuanced role after another, ranging from a stoic mother of a murdered child (Dead Man Walking) to an eccentric biological-mother candidate (Flirting with Disaster) to a flawed Southern matriarch holding her dysfunctional family together with one hand and a lit cigarette in the other (Junebug).
What she’s doing next: Co-starring in the upcoming big-screen drama Goodbye to All That.
Where you’ve seen her: In How Do You Know (as Paul Rudd’s supportive pregnant friend), Step Brothers (as Adam Scott’s beleaguered wife) and The Dictator (Sacha Baron Cohen’s medical experiment).
Why you should know her name: Great comedic actresses like Hahn too often get sidelined in supporting roles beside funny guys. Even so, she owns the screen every time.
What she’s doing next: Appearing in the summer comedy We’re the Millers and the upcoming The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Where you’ve seen her: On New York stages, in years of TV roles (Grey’s Anatomy; 24; Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place) and as writer/co-star of acclaimed festival darlings Ira & Abby and Kissing Jessica Stein. Her 2011 film Friends with Kids marked her directorial debut.
Why you should know her name: Acting is tough. Writing, directing and acting is (according to our math) at least three times harder. Westfeldt’s funny, touching portrayal of a 30-something woman trying to raise a baby with her best friend (Friends with Kids) doesn’t just hurdle a sizable feat on camera but behind it as well.
What she’s doing next: Starring in an off-Broadway production of The Explorers Club beginning June 20.
Where you’ve seen her: At the reception desk on NBC’s recently wrapped The Office (after Pam got promoted) and on the big screen in Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street.
Why you should know her name: For patenting a quirky new character type we all appreciate: the funny/chipper/egoless/adorable ingénue beset with untapped sexual energy.
What she’s doing next: Playing the lead in the pilot for NBC’s comedy Brenda Forever.