Zac Efron: As strong as he was in "Hairspray," it's no surprise that many have dismissed Efron in the likes of "17 Again," "Me and Orson Welles" and "Charlie St. Cloud." After all, the 24-year-old earned his fame through a Disney TV-to-film franchise ("High School Musical"). Headlining "The Paperboy" with Kidman, McConaughey and John Cusack at Cannes should help him to attract a more grown-up audience, as could "Liberal Arts," in which he stars with Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins and Allison Janney (the Josh Radnor film debuted at Sundance, and is yet to be released). But he'll still need to show more than his pretty face to keep their attention.
Shia LaBeouf: It's time to grow up. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" didn't help anyone's career, but it still ranks among the Freshest of the "Transformers" franchise star's career. While he did get to play alongside Michael Douglas in Oliver Stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," he hasn't charmed his way into the hearts and minds of a more high-brow audience. With Hillcoat's "Lawless" playing Cannes as well as his upcoming role in Robert Redford's "The Company You Keep" (alongside Redford, Julie Christie, Sam Elliot, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick and Terrence Howard), a career shift may be in sight.
THE FOREIGN GEMS:
After "Bullhead," we're sold on anything Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts does, especially if it's with our favorite, French Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard. They star together in Cannes' "Rust & Bone" from "A Prophet" director Jacques Audiard as well as the upcoming "Blood Ties" remake from Guillaume Canet. The always impressive Cotillard also joins Hardy in "The Dark Knight Rises" (she also has a yet-to-be-titled James Gray film upcoming); ditto Mads Mikkelson ("After the Wedding," "Casino Royale," "Valhalla Rising"), who comes to Cannes this year with Thomas Vinterberg's "The Hunt" from Denmark.
THE WANNA-BE STARS:
Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley star as Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise in Salles' "On The Road." While Hedlund appeared in "Friday Night Lights," "Four Brothers," "TRON: Legacy" and "Country Strong," he's still waiting for that star-making role. He's got the looks, talent and charisma. Riley broke out in Brit indies "Control" (from Anton Corbjin) and Rowan Joffe's "Brighton Rock" but is still mostly unknown stateside. Depending on how "On the Road" plays at Cannes, both actors could find themselves in star-making roles.