Vera Farmiga ("Bates Motel" and "The Conjuring"): The actress generated critical buzz in the indie film "Down to the Bone" (2004), and audiences took special note of her perceptive portrayals in "The Manchurian Candidate" (2004), "The Departed" (2006), and "Up in the Air" (2009). Farmiga, who started on stage, has done her share of television stints: Her first series was the short-lived "Roar," co-created by 1970s teen idol Shaun Cassidy and Ron Koslow, and starring the late Heath Ledger.
As a paranormal-seeking clairvoyant in "The Conjuring," she seems happy to be in a horror show, but her "Bates Motel" character, Norma Louise Bates, actually appealed to her maternal instincts. "Seriously, if I'm going to step away for 18 hours a day, there better be some sort of a paycheck or spiritual salary being offered. And 'Bates Motel' surprised me. [The role] made me reflect so deeply on the love I feel for my children," she told Deadline. "Also, I was craving all that cable serial television has to offer, which is the risk and the wackiness, the unorthodox." Not to mention a shot at Lead Actress in a Drama Series.Below, a trailer from her latest film, "The Conjuring."