21. MATT DAMON
TITLE: Bourne Again
RANK LAST YEAR: 26
CAREER DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: $2.3 billion
CAREER WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $4.2 billion
STATUS REPORT: The relentless hard work is paying off — Damon is scoring on all fronts. He joined ensemble casts for a Scorsese drama (The Departed) and a megabudget crowd pleaser (Ocean's Thirteen), took on a challenging lead role in The Good Shepherd, then returned to playing superspy and bettered previous grosses with The Bourne Ultimatum ($397 million worldwide and still counting), making him the only star of his generation to have a true action franchise (no capes or masks). Meanwhile, he devoted time to a documentary (narrating and exec producing Running the Sahara) and causes such as GreenDimes.org.
NEXT: The long-delayed release of Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret and a cameo in Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth. If the timing is right, he'll shoot Paul Greengrass's Iraq War movie, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, early next year, before Steven Soderbergh's corporate whistle-blower drama, The Informant, in April.