5. Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson
These days, Ryan Gosling is something of an awards darling and a genuine A-lister who is linked with a broad spectrum of roles. When he started, though, he had very much been shaped as a Disney Club child star and his roles seemed to suggest he was heading in a similarly wholesome direction.
The likes of Young Hercules, Remember The Titans and The Notebook set the plays early and while there was more interesting stuff like Murder By Numbers, he was still playing a similar sort of character, just in a darker context.
How He Broke It
Drugs open a lot of creative doors. So was the case for Gosling when he took on Half Nelson and announced himself to the world as a REAL actor. His balance of charm and the struggles of addiction pushed him towards Academy attention and basically relaunched him as the A-list king of indie films.