Did anyone ever tell you you were too young to do anything great? If they did, call them up and tell them that the youngest ever Academy Award-winning actress was only 10 years old and the youngest ever boy to win was only 8 — take that!
In fact, this year welcomes the youngest Best Actress Oscar nominee in 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis for her work in the film Beasts of The Southern Wild. According to Us Weekly, then-5-year-old Quvenzhane was just under the casting call’s 6-year-old cut-off, but she tried out anyway and blew the audition out of the park! The young Louisiana native is up against Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, and Naomi Watts in her category, but Beasts director Benh Zeitlin is pulling for her to be the one to win her award, even if the film’s three other nominations for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture fail.
There have been plenty of other little stars and starlets through the decades who have rocked their film roles and been regarded for their talent above the older silver screen alums in their categories. Some people argue that a child winning such a distinguished award is ridiculous, and that they must have used their youthful charms to earn even just the nomination. We say watch some of these films for which children have been recognized for their roles, and you may just spot the raw talent that earned them the honor.
Youngest Juvenile Award Winner: Shirley Temple, 6, was awarded the first Academy Juvenile Award (honorary Oscar) in 1934 for her combined work over the previous three years.
Youngest Male Winner: Justin Henry, 8, won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1979 for Kramer Vs. Kramer.
Youngest Actor Nominee: Jackie Cooper, 9, received the honor of a Best Actor nomination for his role in Skippy in 1931.
Youngest Actress Nominee: Quvenzhane Wallis, 9, is nominated this year for Best Actress for her role in Beasts of The Southern Wild.
Youngest Female Winner: Tatum O'Neal, 10, was honored with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Paper Moon in 1973.
Other talented young Oscar nominees and winners:
Mary Badham, 10, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for To Kill a Mockingbird in 1952.
Abigail Breslin, 10, received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Little Miss Sunshine in 2006.
Anna Paquin, 11, won her Academy Award in 1993 for Best Supporting Actress for The Piano.
Haley Joel Osment, 11, received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Sixth Sense in 1999.
Brandon De Wilde, 11, was nominated in 1942 for Best Supporting Actor for Shane.
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