Breakout Film: "Wuthering Heights"
Why We Profiled Her: Best known in the U.K. for her breakout turn as a troubled teen in the controversial hit series "Skins" (that spurred an MTV knockoff stateside), 20-year-old Kaya Scodelario made a transfixing transition to the big screen in Andrea Arnold's radical take on "Wuthering Heights." Although this doesn't mark her first film -- she had bit parts in "Moon" and "Clash of the Titans" -- her role as Cathy, the heroine of "Wuthering Heights," marks her biggest yet.
What She's Up To: She'll next be appearing in the Dakota Fanning-starring weepie "Now Is Good." But Scodelario told Indiewire that she's most excited her title role in "Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes," premiering at Sundance in January. In the film, Scodelario stars as a troubled young woman who takes a strange fascination to a new neighbor who resembles her dead mother. "That was me giving 150% of myself to a project," she said of shooting the drama. "I was in every single shot. I just loved every minute of it."
Profession: Writers, directors
Breakout Film: "Black Pond"
Why We Profiled Them: With their first feature, the oddball murder mystery "Black Pond," British directing duo Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley are taking the UK by storm. The two (along with producer Sarah Brocklehurst) were nominated for the 2012 Outstanding Debut BAFTA this year for "Pond," alongside Ralph Fiennes ("Coriolanus"), Richard Ayoade ("Submarine"), Joe Cornish ("Attack the Block") and Paddy Considine ("Tyrannosaur"). Not bad company.
What They're Up To: They're almost done adapting Voltaire's classic novel "Candide." "The book is in itself a critique of novels," said Sharpe. "I guess the film is sort of sending up some stock devices and things that for some reason are acceptable in filmmaking [but] are in fact completely ridiculous." Their adaptation will be set in the present day like "Black Pond," but the similarities end there. "There are elements of it that are more fantastical and magical [than in 'Black Pond']," Sharpe said. "People die in it and come back to life."
#34. Omar Sy
Breakout Film: "The Intouchables"
Why We Profiled Him: French actor Omar Sy did the unthinkable earlier this year: he beat Jean Dujardin at his own game. Days before "The Artist" swept the Oscars and snagged Dujadin the statuette for best actor, Sy beat him in the same field at the 37th Cesar Awards, France's equivalent to the Academy Awards. The win may have come as a surprise to North Americans, who had yet to see Sy's film "The Intouchables," but to anyone in Europe, chances are they saw this coup coming. Sure, "The Artist" was an awards juggernaut at the time, but it didn't have "The Intouchables"' firepower at the European box office, where it grossed a staggering $281 million ($166 million in France alone). It opened this summer in North America and, next to"Amour," is the biggest competitor for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at next year's ceremony.
What He's Up To: Sy wrapped filming Michel Gondry's latest, "Mood Indigo," in which he stars alongside two of France's biggest names, Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris.
Breakout Films: "A Royal Affair" and "Anna Karenina"
Why We Profiled Her: Already a star in her native Sweden, the gorgeous Alicia Vikander is best known for her role in the Swedish TV drama "Andra Avenyn." Earlier this year she turned heads in Berlin, where her period drama "A Royal Affair" had its premiere. She was one of the biggest breakouts at Toronto this year, thanks to her scene-stealing work in the aforementioned film and Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina" adaptation.
What She's Up To: Up next for the budding star is another period romp, albeit a supernatural one. In the 18th-century adventure story "The Seventh Son," Vikander will star opposite Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, Olivia Williams and Ben Barnes. The film is set to open October 18.
Breakout Film: "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Why We Profiled Her: Six-year old Quvenzhané Wallis gave a brutally honest and subtle performance in "Beasts," the debut feature from Benh Zeitlin that took both Sundance and Cannes by storm, winning the Grand Jury Prize at the former and two awards (the FIPRESCI prize and the Camera d'Or for best first feature) at the latter. An Oscar nomination seems likely; if so, she'd be the youngest actress ever to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.
What She's Up To: She's next set to appear in Steve McQueen's "Twelve Years a Slave" opposite Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt.
Profession: Writer, director
Breakout Film: "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Why We Profiled Him: in her wrap-up of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, New York Times critic Manohla Dargis wrote that "Beasts" was one of the best films to play at the festival in two decades. No kidding. The film went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the event after slaying the critics. In Cannes, where the film screened in the Un Certain Regard section, "Beasts" won the FIPRESCI award and the Camera d'Or for best first feature.
What He's Up To: Zeitlin told the Associated Press that his next effort will be "a Louisiana-made fable about a hidden ecosystem where the aging process is 'out of whack' and people can age quickly or very slowly."The writer/director plans to use the same team behind the camera and wants to be reunited with his cast from "Beasts."