9 Oscar-nominated child stars and where they are now: Hailee Steinfeld was 14 in True Grit, True Blood’s Anna Paquin bagged an award at age 11, and Abigail Breslin went on to do Dirty Dancing

Sixth Sense’s Haley Joel Osment and Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin wowed audiences as kids, so what are they up to now? Photos: AFP, EPA-EFE, AP

It’s Oscars season, folks! And while the big awards are usually won by established movie stars, there have been plenty of youthful newcomers that have walked away with Academy Awards over the years. But did they make it as adults too? Let’s take a look …

1. Jodie Foster

At 14, Jodie Foster was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in the 1976 film Taxi Driver.

Jodie Foster got her big break – and an Oscar nomination – for playing Iris in Taxi Driver back in 1976. Photo: Columbia Pictures via IMDb

Foster got her start on TV shows such as The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and The Doris Day Show. She went on to win two Academy Awards.

Jodie Foster receiving the Palme d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award last year. Photo: EPA-EFE

She won the best actress gong at the prestigious award ceremony for both The Accused and Silence of the Lambs, and she was also nominated in 1995 for her role in Nell.


She has most recently appeared in films Hotel Artemis and The Mauritanian.

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2. Justin Henry

In 1980, Justin Henry earned an Oscar nod for best supporting actor at age eight for Kramer vs. Kramer, and he remains the youngest Oscar nominee in history.

Justin Henry as Billy in 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer, in which Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman played his divorced parents. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Henry had no prior acting experience before starring in the film alongside Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman.

As a teenager, he starred as Mike Baker in Sixteen Candles, but while he’s continued to act in film and on TV here and there, he hasn’t appeared in anything recently.

While still on the Hollywood circuit, Justin Henry now only takes on roles sporadically. Photo: Getty Images for HFA

Henry’s last on-screen role was in 2014 as Caine in Reaper. He also appeared on TV with roles in Brothers & Sisters in 2010 and My Own Worst Enemy in 2008, as well as a 2013 episode of the reality show Celebrity Ghost Stories.

3. Anna Paquin

Anna Paquin won best supporting actress for The Piano at the 1994 Oscars when she was 11 years old.

Anna Paquin played Flora McGrath in art house film The Piano back in 1993 and has since had a successful TV career. Photo: Miramax/Bac Films

Paquin played Flora, the daughter of a mute woman. She became the second-youngest Oscar winner in history.


Paquin most recently starred in American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story alongside Zachary Levi and Dennis Quaid.

Anna Paquin at the premiere of the final season of True Blood in 2014. Photo: Reuters

Paquin also famously starred in HBO’s True Blood between 2008 and 2014. She also starred in the TV shows Flack and The Affair.

Of her Oscar win, she told The Guardian in 2019, “That was a combination of [co-star] Holly Hunter being an amazing actress, Jane [Campion] being an extraordinary director and me being in the right place at the right time. I had no idea what I was doing. It’s given me this amazing life, but it’s not the highlight of my career.”

Of her greatest achievement, she said, “I hope that’s yet to come.”

4. Haley Joel Osment

Haley Joel Osment was nominated for best supporting actor for his role in The Sixth Sense.

Cole Sear, at 10 years old, famously saw dead people in psychological thriller The Sixth Sense. Photo: Hollywood Pictures/Reuters

Osment was 10 years old when he delivered his iconic line, “I see dead people.” He has continued acting in films and TV shows, as well as voice-over work.

Haley Joel Osment earlier this year at the 2022 Screen Actors Guild Awards. Photo: Reuters

After appearing in films throughout his childhood, he studied at New York University and “did work practically no one saw for a long time”, he told The Guardian in 2020, before slowly appearing on the stage and screen again.


More recently, Osment has appeared in the TV series Goliath, and lent his voice to characters in Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, American Dad!, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Robot Chicken and the video game Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory.

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5. Keisha Castle-Hughes

In 2004, Keisha Castle-Hughes earned a best actress nomination for her role in Whale Rider.

Keisha Castle-Hughes as New Zealand girl Paikea in a scene from Whale Rider. Photo: Newmarket Films/AP

At just 13 years old, Castle-Hughes set the record for youngest best actress nominee, which she held until 2013.


About to be 32, Castle-Hughes currently stars as special agent Hannah Gibson in FBI: Most Wanted.

Keisha Castle-Hughes as Obara Sand in HBO’s gritty Game of Thrones. Photo: HBO

She has also starred in the TV shows Manhunt, as Obara Sand in Game of Thrones, and in Roadies.

6. Abigail Breslin

Abigail Breslin earned an Oscar nomination for her role in Little Miss Sunshine in 2006.

Abigail Breslin brought much joy to audiences with her portrayal of Olive Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine. Photo: Searchlight Pictures/Big Beach

At 10 years old, she was one of the youngest actors ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.


Breslin went on to play Baby in a 2017 remake of Dirty Dancing and appear in the TV show Scream Queens.

Abigail Breslin went from sweet Little Miss Sunshine to fighting zombies in Zombieland: Double Tap. Photo: CTMG

Her latest roles include Allison in Stillwater and Salem Magnotti in the TV series The Cannibals. She also appeared as Little Rock in Zombieland: Double Tap alongside Woody Harrelson in 2019.

7. Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan was nominated for best supporting actress at age 14 for her role in Atonement in 2008.
Saoirse Ronan played Keira Knightley’s younger sister in Atonement in 2007 – and got herself an Oscar nom in the process. Photo: Universal Pictures/Focus Features/StudioCanal

Ronan played 13-year-old Briony Tallis, who accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he didn’t commit.


She has since been nominated for best actress three times for her performances in Brooklyn, Lady Bird and Little Women.

Saoirse Ronan has been nominated for several other awards since her 2008 nomination for Atonement. Photo: Reuters

However she hasn’t won an Oscar – yet.

Ronan starred alongside Kate Winslet in period drama Ammonite in 2020, and appeared in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch. She’s set to star as Constable Stalker in period whodunnit See How They Run later this year.

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8. Hailee Steinfeld

Hailee Steinfeld’s performance in 2010’s True Grit rightly earned her a nomination for best supporting actress.

Hailee Steinfeld was just barely a teenager when she starred in True Grit in 2010. Photo: Paramount Pictures
Steinfeld was 14 years old at the 2011 Oscars and these days stars in TV shows including the Marvel series Hawkeye.
Hailee Steinfeld plays Kate Bishop alongside Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton/Hawkeye in Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye. Photo: Marvel Studios

Steinfeld is also known for roles in films such as The Edge of Seventeen and Pitch Perfect 3. She also played poet Emily Dickinson in Apple TV’s Dickinson.

In addition to her acting, Steinfeld is a pop star who released her debut album “Haiz” in 2015. Some of her songs have gone platinum multiple times, including Love Myself and Starving.

9. Quvenzhané Wallis

Quvenzhané Wallis was nine years old when she was nominated for best actress for Beasts of the Southern Wild in 2013.

Quvenzhané Wallis still holds the record for youngest best actress nominee ever for her role as Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Photo: Fox Searchlight/MCT

Wallis still holds the record for youngest best actress nominee in history.

Wallis went on to play the titular role in a 2014 film adaptation of Annie and star as Kyra in sitcom Black-ish.

Quvenzhané Wallis with the her co-stars in Annie: Bobby Cannavale, Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx. Photo: AP

She currently stars in Apple TV’s Swagger, a TV series based on Kevin Durant’s experience playing youth basketball in the Amateur Athletic Union.

Wallis also had a cameo in Beyoncé’s music video for All Night back in 2016.

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  • Quvenzhané Wallis, who was just nine when she was nominated for best actress, currently holds the record for youngest nominee, and now acts in Beyoncé music videos, Annie and Black-ish
  • Saoirse Ronan has been nominated for best actress three times since her first at age 14 in Atonement, as has Jodie Foster after she starred in Taxi Driver