Saoirse Ronan – for years we have bemoaned the lack of an Irish leading lady. Bemoan no more. Oscar material in “The Lovely Bones” and a young woman set for an incredible career in 2010 and beyond.

Colin Farrell – “In Bruges” won him his Golden Globe and the Dublin actor is suddenly showing a new maturity and consistency in his roles including in his latest “Crazy Heart” with Jeff Bridges. Expect big things in 2010.

Brendan Gleeson. His Emmy for Churchill was well deserved and his upcoming debut as Director of Flann O'Brien's book “At Swim Two Birds” may put him in the heat of the Oscar hunt in 2011. A career that just keeps getting better and better.

Gabriel Byrne. Won an overdue Emmy for “In Treatment” on HBO in which he stars as an Irish psychiatrist. Finally picking the right roles too after many years of dubious choices.

Alec Baldwin. Best actor on television. He is amazing in his latest role opposite Meryl Streep in “It's complicated.” Says he is tired of acting but he just keeps getting better.

Evanna Lynch. In the same year as Saoirse Ronan comes a second young Irishwoman who makes it in Hollywood. Her time in Harry Potter as Luna Lovegood will serve her well  and like Ronan she is only getting started. Big years ahead.

George Clooney. “Up in the Air” may get him that elusive Oscar though the “Goats” movie was a well deserved bomb. Moving from the Cary Grant light comedy to serious stuff these days and well worth watching.

Robert Downey Jnr. Incredible in Sherlock Holmes apparently – he is brilliant in those Brit roles – previously amazing as Charlie Chaplain. Has all his drug problems behind him and set for a great New Year.

John Cusack. “2012” may have been his road back from a faltering career. He is a big name again and obviously very talented. He will have a big year in 2010.