Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, the Golden Globes, the Oscars…it’s the most wonderful time of the year again (in Hollywood only). Awards season is upon us, and 2009′s critically acclaimed films have introduced us to a new pack of uber-talented actors who are about to go from unknowns to A-Listers. We’ve got the 11 stars to watch as award nominations start rolling in, so that when they’re up onstage blubbering through their 10-minute acceptance speech, you’ll be able to say you knew who they were way back when.
- Saoirse Ronan is the 7th youngest actress to be nominated for an Oscar for her work in Atonement. Next up, Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones.
- Quinton Aaron is a relative newcomer, who scored the lead in The Blind Side opposite Sandra Bullock.
- Michael Stuhlbarg – This Julliard-trained, Tony-nominated Broadway star is scoring serious buzz for his work in the Coen Brothers‘ A Serious Man.
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a former child star turned indie darling, who made the world swoon in 500 Days of Summer. Also, he did back flips on “Saturday Night Live.” Nuf’ said, right?
- Jeremy Renner‘s work in The Hurt Locker just snagged the actor his second Independent Spirt Award nomination.
- Gabby Sidibe - The Precious star – who was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award – exuded confidence in a recent interview on the “Oprah Winfrey Show.” Said the newcomer and Harlem native, “One day I had to sit down with myself and decide that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body.”
- Dominic Cooper may be known mostly for dating his Mamma Mia! co-star Amanda Seyfried, but the British actor is making a name for himself with his work in the critically acclaimed An Education.
- Carey Mulligan has been generating serious buzz for her portrayal of a precocious teen An Education. Next up for the British starlet: Wall Street 2.
- Ben Whishaw is part of Hollywood’s British Invasion, wowing audiences (and female fans) with his stint as poet John Keats in Bright Star.
- Abbie Cornish is perhaps best known as being the alleged other woman in Ryan Phillipe and Reese Witherspoon‘s break up. Luckily, her work in Bright Star is brilliant enough to make everyone forget all that drama.
- Anna Kendrick‘s inspired work in Up In the Air has turned the Twilight actress into a serious contender for every Best Supporting Actress award out there.