Young Actors Oscar Winners and Nominees in History

In light of 2016’s Academy Awards, which gained criticism for not recognizing any actors of color, the academy also got flak for ignoring young, up-and-coming actors. One of the most notable performances of that season was of Jacob Tremblay, who played traumatized son Jack in the critically acclaimed film Room.

It is not as if the Oscars has never done anything like it, as the long-running award show ceremony has given out nominations and even awards to actors of all ages. One example is pint-sized actress Quvenzhané Wallis, who currently holds the title as the youngest Oscar nominee of all time. She was nominated for her astounding performance in the 2012 film Beasts of Southern Wild. Find out who are the other most notable and hard-working young stars who have either been nominated or won big in the acting category:

1. Jennifer Lawrence

At age 22, Jennifer Lawrence became the second-youngest actress to have ever won the prestigious Best Actress award. This happened last 2012, a good year for the bankable young star since she also starred in the highly successful Hunger Games movie around that time. Lawrence also got an Oscar nod for Best Actress for her role in Winter’s Bone when she was just 20 years old.

2. Abigail Breslin


Abigail Breslin is one of the most well-known child actresses. She became a household name playing lovable and innocent Olive in the critically acclaimed movie Little Miss Sunshine.

Her performance did not go unnoticed by the Academy Awards as Breslin was nominated for a Best Supporting Role. Although she did not win, she became one of the youngest actresses ever to be nominated at age ten.

3. Haley Joel Osment


Who could forget the little boy from the horror classic The Sixth Sense? Haley Joel Osment‘s celebrity status was cemented after that. At just eleven years old, he was nominated as Best Supporting Actor for that specific role during the Oscars held last 2000.

4. Jackie Cooper


The classic American comedy film Skippy gave 9-year-old Jackie Cooper an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. The movie also produced a number of young talents including the film’s director Norman Taurog, who at just 32 years old won the same night as Best Director. Both Taurog and Cooper hold the record of being youngest to have ever been nominated or won in their respective categories.

5. Tatum O’ Neal

O'NEAL, Tatum

Tatum and her father, Ryan O’ Neal, were a force to reckon with when they starred side by side in the movie Paper Moon. The movie was set during the Great Depression, specifically in Kansas and Missouri. Both Ryan and Tatum played the protagonists Moze and Addie, who are woven together by a tragedy.

So far, Tatum has remained the youngest ever to have won an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actress category since she was only ten years old at that time. She surpasses aforementioned actress Breslin because the latter is older than her by a number of days.

6. Jodi Foster

Jodie Foster en una escena de la película "Taxi driver" Género: drama Año: 1976

Award-winning actress Jodie Foster was only fourteen years old when she got her Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in the movie Taxi Driver. She may not have bagged the award way back in 1977, but she did go on to have the stellar career she has today.

7. Justin Henry


Henry is the youngest nominee in any acting category, as he was nominated for his role in the movie Kramer vs. Kramer at the young age of eight. The movie stars Hollywood heavyweights Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman and is about the two of them getting a divorce. Henry played their son in the movie, which garnered both Streep and Hoffman Oscar wins.

Honorable mentions on this list include Adrien Brody. He may be the oldest on the list for winning an award for Best Actor at the age of 29, but it does break an Oscar norm of having seasoned or older actors bagging the prestigious award. Another is Canadian actress Anna Pacquin, who got her first Oscar win at age 14, this marked her as the second-youngest Oscar winner throughout the award-giving body’s history.

Newer generations may be familiar with singer-actress Hailie Steinfield, she kick-started her career in the movie Tru Grit and went on to be nominated as Best Supporting Actress at the young age of fourteen as well.