When your father is journeyman actor Eric Roberts and your aunt is Academy Award-Winner Julia Roberts, you have big shoes to fill. Despite that, Emma Roberts has carved out a very successful career for herself in both movies and television. The 28-year-old actress has been working since way back in 2001. She got her first real big break as the star of a Nickelodeon series and has since been a scene-stealer in every role she's ever scored.
From playing the daughter of a drug lord to a songwriting middle school student to a witch with an attitude, Roberts has shown the kind of versatility that can make someone a star. Here, her body of work has been narrowed down to the ten best performances of her career.
10 The Blackcoat's Daughter
It's understandable if you haven't heard of this movie before. The Blackcoat's Daughter did only make just over $20,000 at the box office. Though it wasn't a popular release, the film has received plenty of critical acclaim. The main aspect that critics praised was the acting, including that of Emma Roberts.
The story revolves around two Catholic girls who are left at a boarding school with satanic nurses. Though Roberts doesn't play one of the two leads, she arguably steals the show. Joan is an escapee from the asylum with a haunting past who is involved in some of the most memorable moments.
9 Who We Are Now
Emma Roberts has kind of become a queen of indie flicks. Who We Are Now is another in a long line of them for her. This small film focuses on ex-con Beth (Julianne Nicholson) who finds herself in a custody battle against her sister, who took care of her child while she was in prison.
What makes this such a notable Emma Roberts role is that her character is far different from what she usually does. Roberts plays Jess, the young and idealistic lawyer who steps up to help defend Beth. The two form a bond that is the film's driving force.
8 We're The Millers
One of the most financially successful endeavors of Emma Roberts' career was We're The Millers. The comedy brought in $270 million at the box office and Roberts starred alongside a funny cast that featured the likes of Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Nick Offerman, and Ed Helms.
In it, Roberts is a young runaway thief named Casey who left her neglectful parents behind. She is hired by David Clark (Sudeikis) to pose as his daughter. It's a role filled with hilarious moments and it all comes to an emotional conclusion for the misfit family.
7 It's Kind Of A Funny Story
Yet another independent film. It's Kind of a Funny Story was released in 2010 and was based on a 2006 novel of the same name. Emma Roberts joined a talented cast that included Zach Galifianakis, Viola Davis, and Keir Gilchrist in this comedy-drama that mostly takes place in a psych hospital.
Gilchrist plays protagonist Craig, with Roberts as his love interest, Noelle. She is impressed by Craig and the two form a bond. Roberts delivers an excellent performance as a troubled youngster admitted for self-harm with a penchant for art. Though the couple has their issues, Noelle ultimately finds comfort in her new friends.
6 Nancy Drew
Emma Roberts was barely 16 when this movie was released. Nancy Drew was one of the films that really helped put her on the map as a rising star. The Nancy Drew character is a teen detective famous from a series of mystery novels. She first appeared way back in 1930.
While the film wasn't a huge box office hit, most critics praised it for being a fresh take on the character. Roberts' performance as the titular detective was described as both "bubbly" and "charming" in positive reviews of the film.
5 Scream 4
Over a decade after the third installment of the Scream franchise, a fourth came along that continued the trend of quality slasher films we've come to know from Wes Craven. Original cast members like Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courteney Cox returned and were joined by new stars like Hayden Panettiere, Alison Brie, and of course, Emma Roberts.
Of all the new characters, Roberts' Jill was the most important. She was the niece of Sidney, the main character from the original trilogy. Jill makes herself out to be the victim in an attempt to become a celebrity like her aunt, but she's actually behind all the killing that takes place. It was the kind of role that prepared Roberts for later work on American Horror Story.
The concept of Nerve is one of the most interesting in recent memory. In it, people participate in an online game of truth or dare that can get more dangerous as more viewers watch along. It is almost a perfect look at our current social media-driven world.
Emma Roberts plays the lead as Venus "Vee" Delmonico. Grieving the loss of her father, Vee lives an unadventurous life. When chastised for it, she signs up for the game and gains popularity through daring challenges. Roberts is charming and carries the movie while also having great chemistry with co-star Dave Franco. This pulse-pounding film is a must see.
This is the role that made Emma Roberts into a household name. Beginning in 2004, when she was just 13 years old, Roberts played the lead on Unfabulous. The series ended up as one of the most popular among kids during its three-season run. It was popular enough to get a crossover with Drake & Josh.
Addie Singer, Roberts' character, was a middle school teenager who dabbled in songwriting in the form of a diary. Fans watched her grow up and navigate the rocky road of adolescence. It was the breakout role to get Roberts' career off and running.
2 American Horror Story
Since its inception in 2011, American Horror Story has remained one of the most watched shows on FX. The horror anthology series has focused on a haunted house, mental asylum, circus, cult, and more. Emma Roberts appeared in four seasons and is already signed on for a fifth, playing a different character in each.
Her exceptional role is Roberts' portrayal of Madison Montgomery. In season three, Madison is a famous movie star who finds out she's a witch when she accidentally uses her powers to murder a director who annoyed her. Her attitude leads to her getting killed, but she gets revived in season eight from her own personal hell. Roberts nails all the tendencies that make Montgomery one of the best characters to ever appear on the show.
1 Scream Queens
The great work Emma Roberts did on American Horror Story landed her the lead on Ryan Murphy's next series, Scream Queens. The comedy horror focused on a group of girls tormented by a serial killer at a college, and in season two, at a hospital. Though most reviews were positive, the show only lasted two seasons.
Emma Roberts was incredible as Chanel Oberlin. A selfish, wealthy sorority leader, Chanel had a clique of underlings. They were known as the Chanels, going by Chanel #2, #3, etc. They were played by Ariana Grande, Billie Lourd, and Abigail Breslin. Roberts was utterly petty, bratty, and everything else you could want from a character like this. It is the performance most people associate with Roberts.