LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Some stars are born, others toil for years before landing a dream role and occasionally the road to Hollywood's red carpet starts at a New York ice cream shop.
Nikki Blonsky, the teenager plucked from that ice cream shop to star in the musical "Hairspray," was one of a crop of new faces nominated on Thursday for a Golden Globe award that could propel them to Hollywood's A-list.
Blonsky, 19, picked up a nomination for best actress in a musical or comedy for her debut role as a plump girl who wants to dance on a 1960s TV show. At 16, she auditioned for the part on Broadway but was turned down because she was too young.
"A year or so ago she was in high school. She'd never done anything in her life and now to be a Golden Globe nominee -- it's unbelievable. It's so thrilling, " said Craig Zadan, one of the "Hairspray" producers.
Blonsky's co-star John Travolta, who got a supporting actor nod, said she was born for the part. "Once every decade or so, there is a person who has a passion for the role."
Blonsky was joined by Canadian Ellen Page, 20, also nominated for best actress in a musical or comedy for playing a an insouciant, pregnant teen in coming-of-age movie "Juno."
Page has said she tries to steer clear of stereotypical roles for teenage girls and has already won two breakthrough awards in the United States for her role in "Juno."
Scottish actor James McAvoy, 29, could become a household name in the United States after picking up his first major best actor nomination as the romantic lead in "Atonement," the epic 1940s drama that led the Golden Globe list of nominees.
McAvoy won praise in 2006 for playing a naive British doctor in "The Last King of Scotland" and is a regular face on British TV, but he remains little known in the United States.
"It's a bit of a surprise to me, really, and I do find it quite funny because I've never really considered myself that type of actor," McAvoy told Reuters.
"Atonement" director Joe Wright called McAvoy an "extraordinary actor" and said he hoped the nomination would boost his career. "I don't know of another actor who deserves it quite so well as James," Wright told Reuters.
Marion Cotillard, 32, is also a newcomer to Hollywood despite 14 years in the industry in her native France before landing her dream role as singer Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose" or its French title, "La Mome."
"When you do a French movie, you don't know it's going to cross the cultures," Cotillard told Reuters.
"What I like right now is that I have the chance to meet very interesting directors, amazing actors and producers. The fact that I would be well-known is less important than all the people you meet," she added. Cotillard was nominated for best actress in a musical.
Since the Golden Globe nominations are often a reliable guide to Oscar nominations in January, Ryan Gosling -- a newcomer last year for playing a drug addict in "Half Nelson" -- had some timely advice for the Golden Globe freshmen.
"If there is ever a time to pick up the phone, it's now," Gosling told Reuters.