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9. Sharlto Copley
OK, so maybe the REAL standout in "District 9" -- no offense, CJ -- was actually this unknown South African actor. While other actors on the list have been resident Hollywood players that agents and publicists have been grooming for years, Sharlto was literally brand-spanking-new to the acting biz and his performancem which can only be described as "The Fugitive" meets Kafka's "Metamorphosis," blew everyone and everything out of the water.
As a friend of the unknown director (Neill Blomkamp), Copley got the part almost incidentally, by helping as a performer in the pitch presentations for the film. And once they realized he was, I don't know, a BALLER, they decided to stick with him. Kudos to Blomkamp (and producer Peter Jackson) for NOT sticking Will Smith in the part. Cheers to avoiding painful redundancy!