Canadian-born Ryan Gosling, who excels at playing quirky characters in offbeat films, first gained national attention when he was cast on Disney's revamped Mickey Mouse Club in 1993 when he was 12 and performed alongside stars-in-the-making Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. But music wasn't Gosling's primary interest. It was acting. And by the end of the decade he had built up an impressive résumé in a number of juvenile-oriented TV series, most notably as the title character in the action-adventure series Young Hercules. After a supporting role in the hit Remember the Titans, Gosling shattered his cute-kid image with his breakout role as a zealous anti-Semite who happens to be Jewish in 2001's The Believer. Following that critical success, Gosling continued to pursue complex, troubled characters, such as a high-school student turned killer in Murder by Numbers (which introduced him to one-time love Sandra Bullock) and a depressed teen trying to survive prison in The United States of Leland. But it was his charming performance as a poor carpenter who falls for a rich girl in the popular 2004 romance The Notebook that caused women of all ages to swoon, including his costar-cum-girlfriend Rachel McAdams. Ever the rebel, instead of opting to become Hollywood's next leading hunk, Gosling wisely returned to his dark side in Half Nelson, earning SAG and Oscar nominations for his riveting turn as an inner-city teacher struggling with a cocaine habit. The Anthony Hopkins headliner Fracture followed before Gosling immersed himself into the life of another eccentric character in 2007's Lars and the Real Girl as an extremely introverted man who buys an anatomically correct blow-up doll and treats her as if she is real. His sweetly affecting performance earned Gosling his first Golden Globe nod. In 2010, Gosling teamed with Michelle Williams for the indie marital drama Blue Valentine, which wowed audiences at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals.