Things are still looking up for last year's candidates

BIGSCREEN KIDS

Nikki Blonsky — Golden Globes nom and acclaim for “Hairspray” led to roles in this summer’s “Harold” and “Waiting for Forever,” an indie romantic comedy now shooting.

Abigail Breslin –Headlined three 2008 pics: “Definitely, Maybe,” “Nim’s Island” and “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.” Next up is “My Sister’s Keeper,” from director Nick Cassavetes, now in post.

Michael Cera — Gets the girl in “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” opening today, with “Youth in Revolt” and Harold Ramis-helmed “Year One” set for 2009 release.

Freddie Highmore — Earned accolades for “August Rush.” Played twins in “The Spiderwick Chronicles.” Starring in two “Arthur and the Invisibles” sequels, with animated “Astro Boy” to follow.

Josh Hutcherson — Played lead in Walden Media’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” which has earned just a whisker shy of $100 million domestically. Indie “Winged Creatures” is making the fest circuit.

Ellen Page — Snagged best actress noms from the Academy, HFPA and SAG (and took home a Spirit Award) for “Juno.” Stars opposite Cillian Murphy and Susan Sarandon in “Peacock,” followed by Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut “Whip It!”

AnnaSophia Robb — Starring in Disney’s “Race to Witch Mountain.” Admirers have started a grassroots Oscar campaign to get her nominated for her impressive turn in Overture release “Sleepwalking.”

Saoirse Ronan — Earned a supporting actress Oscar nomination for her role in “Atonement.” Stars opposite Bill Murray in “City of Ember,” opening next Friday, followed by “The Lovely Bones.”

BIGSCREEN CHAPERONES

Judd Apatow — Had a busy year, producing “Walk Hard,” “Drillbit Taylor,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Step Brothers” and “Pineapple Express.” Currently directing “Funny People” and scouting new talent (like Bo Burnham, page A35).

Cary Granat — The Walden prexy oversaw six films in the past 12 months; three landed among the top five PG-rated films of 2008 thus far: “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Prince Caspian” and “Nim’s Island.”

David Heyman — Produced “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas,” a Holocaust drama seen from a German kid’s point of view, which opens Nov. 14. “Harry Potter” 6 slipped to next summer.

Gus Van Sant — “Paranoid Park” earned the director a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination. He cast “High School Musical’s” Lucas Grabeel and several other young thesps in “Milk.”

CHANNELING TALENT (KIDS)

Zac Efron — “Hairspray” led to more bigscreen opportunities, including “High School Musical 3.” See page A5.

Vanessa Hudgens — Her second album, “Identified,” was a top seller in June. Returns in “High School Musical 3,” with “Bandslam” to follow next spring.

Angus T. Jones — Keeping busy between hit skein “Two and a Half Men” and school.

Hayden Panettiere — Returns in “Heroes’” third season. Released single “Wake Up Call” with Hollywood Records in August. Stars in Fox Atomic’s “I Love You, Beth Cooper.”

Emma Roberts — Plans to attend college in fall 2009. Starred in “Lymelife,” which won the Fipresci Prize at Toronto, followed by indie “Wild Child” and “Hotel for Dogs” next year.

Dylan and Cole Sprouse — TV spin-off “Suite Life on Deck” premiered last Friday. In features, “Kings of Appletown” wrapped, and  the twins will now lend their voices to “Kung Fu Magoo.”

CHANNELING TALENT (ADULTS)

Alexa Fogel — After casting HBO’s Iraq miniseries “Generation Kill,” found more young male talent for Lucasfilm’s World War II feature “Red Tails,” about the Tuskegee Airmen.

Paula Kaplan — Viewership for the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards increased 22% since 2007. Also helped bring together holiday special “Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh!”

Tom Lynch — Survived the writers strike to see “The Assistants” debut on the N this past July. His skein “South of Nowhere” is now entering its fourth season.

Kenny Ortega — Took “High School Musical” to the bigscreen for its third installment. See page A41.

Michael Ouweleen — The Cartoon Network exec switched back from development to on-air promotions, but not before seeing live-action “Ben 10: The Race Against Time” become the most-watched telecast in the net’s history.

Dan Schneider — The Nick exec producer‘s “iCarly” is a hit. The final season of “Zoey 101″ weathered Jamie Lynn Spears’ pregnancy. Developing a show for Victoria Justice now.

Judy Taylor — The Disney VP of casting and talent relations discovered Kelly Blatz for new live-action skein “Aaron Stone,” which debuts on Disney XD next year.

YOUNG AT CHART (KIDS)

Miley Cyrus — Her “Best of Both Words” concert whisked her to the bigscreen. See page A5.

Chris Brown — Starred in the holiday comedy “This Christmas.” Has been working on his third album and plans to release it in 2009.

Hilary Duff — Turned 21 last week. Her satire “War, Inc.” debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival, with indies “Greta,” “Safety Glass” and “Stay Cool” in the pipeline.

Rihanna — Shared a Grammy with Jay-Z for their “Umbrella” collaboration, then launched her hit album “Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded” in June.

Joss Stone — Holds onto her head as Anne of Cleves in “The Tudors.” Turned 21 this year. Preparing follow-up album to “Introducing Joss Stone.”

YOUNG AT CHART (ADULTS)

Jill Casagrande — Left her post as senior VP and general manager for Radio Disney and returned to Cincinnati for personal reasons in March.

Bob Cavallo — The Disney Music Group chairman helped launch hit albums for Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. Cyrus’ “Breakout,” her first true solo album, has sold more than 900,000 copies so far.

Jeff Frasco — The CAA arena maven’s tours for Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, “American Idol,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew” are thriving.

PRIMO PERCENTERS

Meredith Fine — Haley Joel Osment makes his Broadway debut in “American Buffalo” this fall. Kay Panabaker landed the lead in “Fame” remake. Placed kids in pilots for Fox, TBS and Disney Channel.

Mitchell Gossett — Left Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty to join UTA, bringing top client Miley Cyrus along. Put together Nicholas Sparks deal for Cyrus. Booked Madison Davenport in “Kit Kittredge” and Chelsea Staub in “J.O.N.A.S.!”

Bonnie Liedtke — Filled two of the three new “High School Musical” roles, and placed two kids in the “Fame” cast. Corbin Bleu has “Free Style” in January, and Aaron Johnson booked “Kick-Ass” opposite Nicolas Cage.

Cindy Osbrink — Reps both kids in Adam Sandler’s “Bedtime Stories,” along with “Hannah Montana” love interest Lucas Till, “Orphan” star Isabelle Fuhrman and three of the kids in Robert Rodriguez’s “Shorts.”

Sarah Shyn — Client Jessica Stroup stars in “90210,” Olivia Thirlby had “The Wackness,” Scout Taylor Compton appears in “Love Ranch” and Haley Bennett booked the lead in “The Haunting of Molly Hartley.”

BRAND BOYS

Robert Thorne and Greg Redlitz — The former DualStar pair are spinning plates for client Quincy Jones with a branded line of consumer products, two book publishing deals, a Vegas nightclub and more.

WEB WIZARDS

Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried — Followed up the “Lonelygirl15″ viral phenom with London-based Web series “KateModern” and “LG15: The Resistance” under the pair’s Eqal banner.

STRAIGHT OUTTA KIDHOOD

Drake Bell and Josh Peck — Reunite in TV movie “Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh.” Otherwise, looking forward to more grown-up roles. Bell led “Superhero Movie” and “College,” while Peck starred in Sundance audience award winner “The Wackness.”

Shia LaBeouf — Landed the role of Indiana Jones’ long-lost son in “Ki
ngdom of the Crystal Skull.” His latest film, “Eagle Eye,” opened to $29 million last weekend.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen — Mary-Kate played potheads in Sundance hit “The Wackness” and Showtime’s “Weeds,” and will next be seen this season on “Samantha Who?” Ashley is focused on her high-end fashion line the Row.

Ashley Tisdale — Returns for “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” later this month. Also working on a follow-up to her 2007 album “Headstrong.”

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