80 SHANE MEADOWS - DIRECTOR/WRITER
Meadows is British film’s most humane storyteller, drawing fragile poetry from everyday images and constructing bruised but unbowed real-people characters. Dead Man’s Shoes made him a cult hero; This Is England brought wide acclaim without compromise. Surely the finest thing to come out of Uttoxeter since the racetrack...
What’s next? A feature-length adap of his Raging Bull-riffing, bare-knuckle brawling short King Of The Gypsies, starring Paddy Considine.
79 EMILE HIRSCH - ACTOR
Draped with next-big-thing buzz since his electric turn in otherwise mundane skate flick Lords Of Dogtown, Hirsch delivered on his promise in Sean Penn’s elegiac true-life tragedy Into The Wild. Investing charisma and a hint of danger into the iconoclastic lead, Hirsch shows hints of Penn’s own screen magnetism.
What’s next? Running and gunning for the A-list in the Wachowski Brothers’ family actioner Speed Racer.
78 STEVEN SODERBERGH - DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER/EDITOR/CINEMATOGRAPHER
The Good German tanked, Ocean’s Thirteen banked ($311m), but Soderbergh hasn’t been totally revered since 2000’s Traffic/Erin Brockovich double-whammy, which just makes him more interesting. His new ambition is...
What’s next? ...The Argentine and Guerrilla, a two-film Che Guevara biopic starring Benicio Del Toro.
77 RICKY GERVAIS - ACTOR/WRITER/DIRECTOR
The ironic self-promotion act is fraying, but sticking to a persona never harmed one of his inspirations: Woody Allen. So there you go... He’s the British Woody Allen. With flecks of Steve Martin. And Larry David. Yes.
What’s next? His first US lead, in haunted rom-com Ghost Town, followed by scripting, directing and co-starring with Jennifer Garner in This Side Of The Truth, set in a world with no lies...
76 CLINT MANSELL - COMPOSER
He’s come a long way from Stourbridge and those leather-trousered beginnings as frontman of ’80s grebo scenesters Pop Will Eat Itself. After the band split in 1996, Clint moved to LA and got together with π director Darren Aronofsky, embarking on an awards-strewn path of soundtrack composition. Despite being something of a supa-playah these days, he’s staying true to his PWEI political roots by recently remixing The Shins for a charity fundraising CD for Darfur. We can dig it...
What’s next? Composing the scores for rom-com Definitely, Maybe and Brit-flick The Calling.
75 RIDLEY SCOTT - DIRECTOR/PRODUCER
Heat-flavoured Russell/Denzel face-off American Gangster generated solid reviews, business and awards buzz, while the details-obsessed Brit has also released his final, final, honestly it really is this time I promise, cut of Blade Runner to ecstatic reviews. A, ahem, good year.
What’s next? Scott is adding his tuppence to the Iraq War cine-debate courtesy of DiCaprio and Crowe (again) in Body Of Lies, based on David Ignatius’ novel of the same name. Plus Robin Hood yarn Nottingham – with you-know-who as the apparently-not-as-dastardly-as-once-thought Sheriff.
74 CARICE VAN HOUTEN - ACTRESS
Not only did Paul Verhoeven deliver his most mature film to date in Black Book, he also dropped a new blonde bombshell in the shape of the fiery, fearless Van Houten (“Take a bath in shit? No problem...”). After proving her maturity in carrying a two-and-a-half-hour epic about the Dutch resistance, she can pretty much do anything. Shame the Bond-girl rumours didn’t pan out.
What’s next? Exciting Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, then Jude Law in Gattaca-style sci-fi Repossession Mambo.
73 ANTHONY MACKIE - ACTOR
The Half Nelson star more than held his sly, naturalistic own next to Ryan Gosling’s Oscar-tagged lead. Dumping an actor of his talent in dreck like Crossover is like getting Banksy to touch up your skirting-board, but we predict a 2009 Oscar-nom for...
What’s next? A biopic of Hitler-angering athlete Jesse Owens. Mackie’s understated swagger will also see him through Eagle Eye and Iraq war thriller The Hurt Locker.
72 ALLON REICH/ANDREW MACDONALD - PRODUCERS
The men behind DNA Films, allied with US indie champions Fox Searchlight, Macdonald and Reich deliver smart genre fare (the 28 Days... franchise, Sunshine) alongside quality dramas (The Last King Of Scotland, The History Boys), proving there is a market for savvy Brit-based pictures, if you’re determined enough to deliver.
What’s next? The fackin’ Sweeney, innit?
71 THE COEN BROTHERS - DIRECTORS/WRITERS/PRODUCERS
A year ago, after the failures of Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers, the Coens would have missed the Hot 100 cut. This despite a magical back-catalogue. Thanks to No Country For Old Men, the boys are back.
What’s next? Burn After Reading, reuniting Ocean’s alumni Clooney and Pitt.