Last week, we took a look at the relative dearth of leading men in Hollywood: why Tom Cruise, Will Smith, et al. remain at the top of the tree and why so few serious competitors have emerged since. But one of the most exciting things about our job is getting to watch the new names that emerge, breakouts who have the potential to join the A-listers, or at the very least, deliver a host of hugely exciting performances for decades to come.

So we've decided to kick off our On The Rise selection for 2012 by looking at some of the actors who we're tipping for big things in the next few years. Last time we made these kinds of picks and predictions we did pretty well, listing the likes of Joel Edgerton, Edgar Ramirez, Jason Sudeikis, Adam Scott, Jake Johnson and David Oyelowo who have all gone on to become much-sought-after names, and we're feeling just as confident about the folks we've gone with this time around.

It's hard to know who qualifies for a list like this, but we wanted to lean towards new faces, rather than picking out names you've likely been hearing a lot about recently. Guys like Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, Benjamin Walker (the star of this year's "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") and Joel Kinnaman (who will be the new "RoboCop") all have parts in big movies on the way, and will form the next wave of stars for sure, but these actors are right behind them. Have a look below, let us know who you think you could break out soon, and stay tuned for our look at the actresses tomorrow. So, in alphabetical order...

Diego Boneta
Diego Boneta
Adam Shankman's jukebox musical "Rock of Ages" has one of the oddest, most intriguing casts of the summer, with Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston all donning leather and mullet wigs in what's increasingly looking like a guilty pleasure. But none of them are actually the film's lead, as the central couple is played by Julianne Hough ("Footloose") and Latin music star Diego Boneta. And it's the latter who looks like he could break out in a big way if the film's a hit. The 23-year-old Mexican actor started out in telenovelas and as a teen singing sensation, with two hit records to date, before crossing the border to take recurring roles in teen shows "Pretty Little Liars" and "90210." Last year, he got some attention for playing the male lead in the direct-to-video sequel "Mean Girls 2." Shankman says that when Boneta auditioned to play busboy and aspiring rock star Drew Boley in his film, he had "that feeling you get when you realized you've discovered lightning in a bottle." And while Boneta's skills haven't yet been glimpsed in trailers, it's clear others have been impressed -- he was going to play Adam in Alex Proyas' "Paradise Lost" before the film was cancelled. Breaking out from a musical isn't the easiest thing, but there's a distinct lack of young Hispanic leading men, and Boneta could well be the person to fill that gap.

Dane DeHann
Dane DeHaan
One of the more startling images in the movies so far this year was of Andrew, the bullied, troubled teen in "Chronicle," sitting in a junkyard crushing a car with his newfound telekenetic powers, eyes as dark as night. The clip was front and center in the marketing, and it's undoubtedly seared Dane DeHaan, who played the character, onto the eyes of many. The 25-year-old got his big break with a stunning performance as gay adopted teen Jesse in the final season of HBO's "In Treatment," and followed it up swiftly with a recurring role in "True Blood." The movies were always going to come calling after that, and "Chronicle," in which he gave a performance simultaneously sympathetic and terrifying, the true heart of the film, is the first of four movies that'll hit before the end of 2012. Next up is the male lead in lesbian werewolf indie "Jack and Diane" alongside Juno Temple and Riley Keough, but the latter part of the year will see him with key roles in two of our most anticipated films of the year. He's playing Shia LaBoeuf's rickets-stricken best friend in John Hillcoat's Prohibition-era gangster tale "Lawless," and will follow that up swiftly with Derek Cianfrance's crime tale "The Place Beyond the Pines," in which he'll star in the film's final segment as the son of Ryan Gosling's motorcycle stunt rider, continuing the generational feud with the son of the cop-turned politician (Bradley Cooper) who tormented his father. And at present, he's joined fellow bright young things Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Huston and Elizabeth Olsen as troubled poet Lucien Carr in beat-era murder mystery "Kill Your Darlings." Rest assured, it's not just his resemblance to the actor that's put him on the path to becoming the next Leonardo DiCaprio.