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What Happened To These Oscar-Nominated Child Stars?

Yahoo Movies UK

We trawled through the Oscar archives and did a little digging on how the most famous Academy Award-nominated kids have fared since their red carpet strolls.

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Anna Paquin – The Piano (1993)

The second youngest ever Oscar winner after Tatum O’Neal, Anna Paquin didn’t rest on her laurels after bagging her gong as a kid. The Canadian-born New Zealander’s résumé boasts plenty of big movies including: Jane Eyre, Fly Away Home, the X-Men series, Amistad and Almost Famous. Paquin appeared as the improbably-named Sookie Stackhouse in HBO’s wildly successful vampire series, True Blood. She’s currently filming The Irishman with Martin Scorsese.

Keisha Castle-Hughes – Whale Rider (2002)

Before Quvenzhane Wallis, New Zealand-born actress Keisha Castle-Hughes was the youngest ever Best Actress nominee – for her mesmerising performance in Whale Rider. The Kiwi actress has carried on in the business since, and can even claim a Star Wars credit on her CV (as Apailana, Queen of Naboo in Revenge of the Sith). In 2006, she played Virgin Mary in The Nativity Story, famously announcing that she was pregnant out of wedlock just as the film came out. More recently, Castle-Hughes appeared in Game Of Thrones as Obara Sand.

Justin Henry – Kramer vs. Kramer’ (1979)

The youngest Oscar nominee ever was an 8 year-old Justin Henry for his role as Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep’s son in the custody drama Kramer vs. Kramer (SPOILER ALERT: Kramer wins). He made a few films afterwards, like the John Hughes classic Sixteen Candles, but work soon dried up and so at the turn of the century, Henry retrained as a Digital Media Professional, becoming the Director of Sales for a social media platform business, Jun Group.

Tatum O’Neal – Paper Moon (1973)

For her role as the sharp-as-a-tack tomboy Addie Loggins in Peter Bogdanovich’s brilliant grifter flick Paper Moon, Tatum O’Neal became the youngest winner in any competitive Oscar category ever (we’re not counting the honorary ‘Juvenile Oscars’ that the Academy used to dish out years ago). She carried on her childhood success in movies like The Bad News Bears and International Velvet. But as she grew older her CV began to be quickly overshadowed by her tempestuous personal life. There was a relationship with Michael Jackson, her rocky marriage to tennis star John McEnroe (seriously), a very public fall-out with her dad – and Paper Moon co-star – Ryan O’Neal and even a battle with drug addiction (police busted her with a crack pipe). She’s still working and will soon be seen in the horror movie Rock Paper Dead.

Haley Joel Osment – The Sixth Sense (1999)

As a pre-pubescent, the kid that could ‘see dead people’ was a bit of a sensation. His acting career started when he was cast as Tom Hanks’ son in modern classic Forrest Gump and in the next few years he gave starring turns in movies like Pay It Forward and AI: Artificial Intelligence. His Best Supporting Actor nomination for The Sixth Sense was followed by his AI director Steven Spielberg recommending him for the Harry Potter role. Osment was going stratospheric. But then Haley’s comet started to plummet. In the past decade or so Osment’s had to make do with far smaller films, off-Broadway theatre and voicing video games. He’s currently filming Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, the Ted Bundy biopic starring Zac Efron (Pic Credit: Hollywood Pictures/Wenn)

Quinn Cummings – The Goodbye Girl (1977)

After a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role as Lucy in Neil Simon’s rom-com The Goodbye Girl, Quinn Cummings only ever appeared in one more movie (1989’s little-seen Listen To Me). There were a few TV roles to keep her ticking over, but her true calling came later, as a writer. She’s penned two books about her parenting and education as well as written for magazines and newspapers such as People, Time and The Wall St. Journal. She also invented a successful baby sling called ‘The HipHugger’. And, hey – who needs more Oscar glory when you can sell elasticated parenting products to wholesalers, eh?!

Jackie Cooper – Skippy (1931)

Back in the early days of the Academy Awards, Skippy (nothing to do with the kangaroo) brought its tiny child star Jackie Cooper a surprise Best Actor nomination. At just 9 years and 20 days of age on the date of his nomination, the nod turned out to be the highlight of Cooper’s acting career. He carried on appearing in smaller roles in movies and on TV, but never really broke through to the big time. Away from Hollywood he became a Captain in the US Army and then becoming a big-shot TV exec. But he didn’t abandon the big screen entirely. He later went on to play Clark Kent’s editor Perry White in the Christopher Reeve Superman films. Cooper sadly passed away in 2011.

Jodie Foster – ‘Taxi Driver’ (1976)

Jodie who? We’re joking of course. Of all the pint-sized Oscar nominees, Jodie has been by far the most successful, enjoying a stellar career in films like The Silence of the Lambs, Panic Room and Contact. Not forgetting her epic coming out speech at this year’s Golden Globes of course. We sometimes forget that her big break was playing Iris, the tragic 12-year-old prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece Taxi Driver. An experienced child actress, she ousted the likes of Melanie Griffith, Linda Blair and Carrie Fisher for the role. More recently, Foster has established herself as a director, helming an episode in the most recent series of Black Mirror.


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