Bright Side

16 Actors That Were First Nominated for an Oscar When They Were Children


There is probably no actor that exists that hasn’t dreamt of getting the Oscar or at least of being nominated for it. The talented Kate Winslet, who got her Oscar at the age of 33, admitted that she had rehearsed the acceptance speech many times in the bathroom with a bottle of shampoo since she was 8 years old. However, there are some movie stars that didn’t have to dream about their award for a long time: they won their Oscars back when they were still children.

Bright Side decided to learn some information about 16 young Oscar winners and nominees of the most prestigious American movie award. They had a crazy career start!

Anna Paquin

  • Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in The Piano, age 11

Long before she became the star of the X-Men movies and the vampire show True Blood, actress Anna Paquin appeared in the film The Piano. In 1993, the film received 8 Oscar nominations and among them, young Anna was nominated and won the award. So, she became one of the 8 actresses in the history of cinema to get the Oscar for her debut supporting role and also the second youngest actress to get the Academy Award.

Mary Badham

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in To Kill a Mockingbird, age 10

American actress Mary Badham became popular after her role in the film based on the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In 1963, for the role of Scout, she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. At the time, Mary was the youngest nominee in history.

Jodie Foster

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Taxi Driver, age 14

Jodie Foster got her first Oscar nomination when she played an underage prostitute in Taxi Driver (1976) with Robert De Niro in the main role. The actress didn’t actually win the statue on her first attempt, but later she got 2 more chances to give her acceptance speech on the stage of the Dolby Theatre.

Hailee Steinfeld

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in True Grit, age 14

Now, many people know her face, but in 2011, actress, model, and singer Hailee Steinfeld wasn’t all that famous. Everything changed after she played in the movie True Grit, by the Coen brothers. Her movie debut got her an Oscar nomination. The film True Grit got 10 nominations for this prestigious award but, surprisingly, didn’t win a single statue.

Bonita Granville

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in These Three, age 14

Bonita Granville was born into a family of actors, so there is nothing surprising about the fact that her acting career started quite early — at the age of 9. After her role in These Three (1936), Granville got her first and, as it turned out later, her last Oscar nomination.

Patty McCormack

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in The Bad Seed, age 11

Becoming an Oscar nominee at the age of 11 is an impressive achievement. Unfortunately, it was the only achievement in Patty McCormack’s career. In 1957, the young actress lost the fight for the statue and in the future, she never managed to achieve another huge success.

Haley Joel Osment

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in The Sixth Sense, age 11

Despite his really impressive acting in The Sixth Sense, Haley Joel Osment didn’t win the Oscar for this role. However, he is still part of the history of cinema: there are very few people who have never heard his famous phrase: “I see dead people.”

Keisha Castle-Hughes

  • Oscar nomination for Best Actress in Whale Rider, age 13

In 2004, the film Whale Rider got only one Oscar nomination — it was Best Actress for 13-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes. She didn’t have many chances to win the award because that year, the more experienced, Charlize Theron won the statue for the film Monster.

Justin Henry

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Kramer vs. Kramer, age 8

The role of the child who witnessed his parents fight over his custody made Justin Henry the youngest Oscar nominee (in all the existing categories) in the entire history of the award. Unlike Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman who he was on the set of Kramer vs. Kramer with, Henry didn’t win the award.

Quvenzhané Wallis

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Beasts of the Southern Wild, age 9

The film Beasts of the Southern Wild gave Quvenzhané Wallis both her first role in a full-length film and 29 nominations for different movie awards, including one Oscar nomination. The young actress didn’t win the award, but she still holds the record for the youngest actress to have ever been nominated for an American movie award.

Tatum O’Neal

  • Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Paper Moon, age 10

American actress, Tatum O’Neal, managed to win the Oscar on her first attempt. In 1973, for her role in Paper Moon, 10-year-old O’Neal got the nomination for the award, and as incredible as it was, she won the award! Despite the fact that it has been almost 25 years since then, Tatum still holds the record as the youngest Oscar winner in history.

Quinn Cummings

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in The Goodbye Girl, age 10

Quinn Cummings started her acting career in childhood where she mostly starred in many commercials. In 1977, her movie debut happened — the role of Lucy McFadden, in the romantic comedy The Goodbye Girl by Herbert David Ross, got her the first and the last Oscar nomination in her career.

Brandon De Wilde

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Shane, age 11

The career of Brandon De Wilde developed very fast — at the age of 11, he got his first Oscar nomination for his role in the famous western called Shane from George Stevens (1953). Unfortunately, that year, young Brandon didn’t win the award, and it went to Frank Sinatra. After his successful debut, Wilde continued his movie and TV career and he worked consistently until he died in a car crash.

Abigail Breslin

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Little Miss Sunshine, age 10

In 2006, the charm of 10-year-old “Miss Sunshine” Abigail Breslin won the hearts of viewers and the members of the Academy — the film got 4 Oscar nominations, and Abigail got one of the nominations. The statue went to Kate Hudson for Dreamgirls, but the young actress has still managed to build a successful career.

Jackie Cooper

  • Oscar nomination for Best Actor in Skippy, age 9

Jackie Cooper was nominated for the famous American movie award as Best Actor in 1931 when he was only 9 years old. He was the first child actor in the history of cinema to be nominated for an Oscar and he held the title of the youngest nominee for almost 50 years. He is also one of the few popular child actors that managed to remain successful as he grew up.

Saoirse Ronan

  • Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Atonement, age 13

Aside from her obvious acting talent, actress Saoirse Ronan has another outstanding skill — she knows how to choose the right movies. There is no other explanation for the fact that by the age of 25, she was a 3-time Oscar nominee for her roles in Atonement (2007), Brooklyn (2015), and Lady Bird (2017). And we think her Oscar story is far from over.

When you were a child, did you dream of becoming an actor? Which movies would you have liked to star in?