Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu, actors, 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days
The understated, emotionally nuanced performances from the two young stars of Cristian Mungiu's abortion drama helped propel the Romanian title to the Palme d'Or. "The leads never put a foot wrong, giving remarkably controlled and unaffected performances," is how Screen critic Dan Fainaru put it.
Anton Corbijn, director, Control
The biopic of late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis was one of the must-see films, and debut film-maker Corbijn did not disappoint. All eyes are on what the Dutch-born, UK-based former photographer and music-video director does next.
Sam Riley, actor, Control
A "striking new discovery" said Screen critic Jonathan Romney of the unknown young British actor who plays the late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in Corbijn's Control, adding: "Riley brings a touch of young Tom Courtenay to his role, uncannily reincarnating Curtis on stage in all his febrile, elbow-swinging glory." Corbijn says: "He was right on all fronts."
Lucia Puenzo, director, XXY
The daughter of Argentinian director Luis Puenzo impressed critics with her debut film, a coming-of-age story about a young hermaphrodite. "(XXY is) a thoughtful, well-measured reflection on sexuality, identity and the struggle to follow the heart's desire," said Screen critic Allan Hunter.
Marjane Satrapi, co-writer/co-director, Persepolis
Satrapi's adaptation of her bestselling Persepolis graphic novels about a young girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution won the Grand Jury Prize (jointly with Still Light).
Pat Shortt, actor, Garage
Unknown outside his native Ireland, Shortt is compared to Peter Sellers and Charlie Chaplin by his Garage director Lenny Abrahamson. His screen debut sees him play a sweet but simple loner who works in a garage in rural Ireland. "(Shortt) manages to keep our sympathy, interest and identification while rarely altering expression," says Screen's Allan Hunter.
Alejandro Polanco, actor, Chop Shop
"Young lead Polanco is a terrific find, giving Ale a delicate combination of wide-eyed naivety and street-rat amorality," said Jonathan Romney of the star of Ramin Bahrani's second film following Man Push Cart. Twelve-year-old Polanco plays a boy fending for himself in the car repair jungle of Queens, New York.