Four out of five of the nominees for Bafta's EE Rising Star award, announced on Monday, are female after an all-male shortlist last year.
Juno Temple, Andrea Riseborough, Elizabeth Olsen, Alicia Vikander and Life of Pi actor Suraj Sharma have been tipped as the future stars of cinema.
Previous winners include James McAvoy, Kristen Stewart and Tom Hardy.
It is the only accolade voted for by the public and will be announced at the ceremony on 10 February.
The judging panel, which included Pippa Harris, deputy chair of Bafta's film committee, director Kevin Macdonald, actor Benedict Cumberbatch and film critic Mark Kermode, selected the final five from hundreds of submissions made by film industry figures.
Jury chairman Harris said they had "a very tough job" making their selections.
British actress Juno Temple, 23, who attended the nominations launch at Bafta headquarters in London, said: "I'm so honoured to be up there with this extraordinary young talent - people I'm inspired by and people whose films I go and see."
Temple's breakthrough role was in Notes on a Scandal (2006), alongside Cate Blanchett, and her other film appearances include Atonement (2007), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and she appeared most recently with Matthew McConaughey in dark comedy Killer Joe.
Temple said she had heard of the Rising Star award previously in her career, but never imagined she would be a nominee.
"It's about people looking at your body of work and congratulating what you've done. That's cool, because I've definitely made some choices that people are either going to love or hate. But I like that, it keeps people on their toes."
Temple's forthcoming movies include fantasy film Horns, in which she has been working with Daniel Radcliffe, and Disney film Maleficent, with Angelina Jolie.
Elizabeth Olsen studied at Tisch School of the Arts before she took Sundance by storm in 2011 starring in acclaimed films Martha Marcy May Marlene and Silent House.
The 23-year-old stars in the forthcoming Spike Lee remake of Oldboy, opposite Samuel L Jackson and Josh Brolin, and said: "Being considered for this award is a huge honour.
"So many actors whom I admire have been recognised in this category and I'm very thankful to Bafta and the jury for selecting me."
Riseborough, 31, who has had roles in Shadow Dancer, Never Let Me Go, Brighton Rock and Happy Go Lucky, recently finished filming with Tom Cruise in sci-fi thriller Oblivion, set for release in April.
Speaking about her nomination she said: "Bafta nurtures new talent throughout the international film community so I am so very grateful to be given this fantastic opportunity."
Meanwhile Swedish-born actress Alicia Vikander, 24, who trained with the Royal Swedish Ballet for nine years, made her big-screen debut in Pure by Lisa Langseth.
She has had major roles opposite Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina and period drama A Royal Affair with Mads Mikkelsen.
This year's only male on the shortlist, Suraj Sharma, got his break when he was picked from 3,000 hopefuls to star in Ang Lee's epic adaptation of the novel Life of Pi.
The 19-year-old had no acting experience prior to the role and was living with his parents in the suburbs of South Delhi.
However, film critic Kermode insisted the Rising Star award was not strictly for newcomers.
"You can be someone who has a track record," he told the BBC.
"It's trying to pick people on the cusp of stardom and I do think that all of the nominees are in that position - whether it's Suraj Sharma who's literally arrived at that moment, or Andrea Riseborough who's got a very solid career already."
Last year, Kidulthood star Adam Deacon won the award, beating Chris Hemsworth, Chris O'Dowd, Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston.