Alejandro González Iñárritu

By the time director Alejandro González Iñárritu made his audacious feature film debut with 2000's Amores Perros (a Cannes Film Festival winner), he had been honing his craft for years -- first as a DJ (for which he credits his knowledge of pacing and storytelling), then as a writer and director of commercials, and finally, under the tutelage of Polish director Ludwik Margules.

Born Aug. 15, 1963, in Mexico City, Iñárritu followed the success of Amores Perros by contributing to September 11 and then pairing up with Amores Perros screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga again for the gritty 21 Grams (which earned Oscar nods for stars Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro).

In 2006, Babel -- the final part of the trilogy that began with Amores Perros and 21 Grams -- debuted, earning Oscar nods for a large number of cast and crew (including Iñárritu, Arriaga and actors Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi).