Awards season newcomer Timothee Chalamet shoots for the stars

New Yorker Timothee Chalamet is one of the breakout stars of 2017

A virtual unknown a year ago, Timothee Chalamet is now a breakout star, featuring in two of last year's hottest movies.

The 22-year-old New Yorker has been showered with acclaim and awards nominations for his role in Luca Guadagnino's paean to the universal heartbreak of first love, Call Me By Your Name.

Chalamet - who has youthful good looks to go with his brown curls, high cheekbones and green eyes - charmed critics with his performance as precocious, sensitive teenager Elio.

In the movie, a bored 17-year-old American, who must spend summer in rural northern Italy, becomes transfixed by Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome graduate student who works with Elio's professor father.

Chalamet won the Rising Star Award alongside co-honoree Gal Gadot at the Palm Springs International Film Festival last week.

He said in his acceptance speech: "It is truly an awesome feeling to get to be in the rising star category tonight alongside Gal Gadot. Gal, your film has literally made 250 times more money than my movie has."

Chalamet said in November that the role, for which he had to learn Italian, "changed" him.

Guadagnino is full of praise for his "sublime" young star, saying: "He is such a courageous and surprising actor... He is always in the moment."

Film blogger Sasha Stone of the Awards Daily website said Chalamet is in vogue not just because he is in a beloved movie but also because people were seeing him for the first time as a "charismatic and good-looking young star".

He is such a courageous and surprising actor... He is always in the moment. Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino on Timothee Chalamet

Add to the mix his skills - he is fluent in French (due to his roots), took on Italian and played the piano and guitar in the movie - and you have an actor with "the right balance of good looks and talent that make him hard to ignore", added Stone.

Chalamet was nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama at the recent Golden Globe Awards, going up against Hollywood veterans Denzel Washington, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Hanks and eventual winner Gary Oldman.

He studied at the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York, where he met his then-girlfriend Lourdes Leon, the daughter of US pop star Madonna.

Chalamet already has a decade of work on his resume, including a role as the son of Matthew McConaughey's space pilot in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar (2014).

Even if he had missed out on Call Me By Your Name, 2017 would still have been a huge year, with roles in Scott Cooper's brutal western Hostiles and Greta Gerwig's awards season darling Lady Bird.

In Lady Bird, Chalamet steals the show as an edgy musician and all-around cad who starts a relationship with Saoirse Ronan's Catholic schoolgirl.

This year, he will appear in Woody Allen's new rom-com A Rainy Day In New York opposite Elle Fanning, Jude Law and Selena Gomez, and he also takes on the role of a meth addict in the Steve Carell drama Beautiful Boy. - AFP