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17 Of The Youngest Actors Ever To Be Nominated For An Oscar

Throughout the years, so many talented actors have been recognized for their incredible film performances and have earned Academy Award nominations, and wins. And while it's always such a milestone to be nominated at all, it's SO cool when someone gets recognized very early on in their careers — especially when they're a kid.

And it's actually not that uncommon for young people and children to be nominated for these career-making awards. So, here are 29 actors who earned their Oscar nominations before they were 21 years old:

1.Hailee Steinfeld was 14 years old when she earned her Best Supporting Actress nomination for her performance in True Grit in 2011.

Hailee Steinfeld on the Oscars red carpet
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

2.Jodie Foster's first Oscar nomination came in 1977 when she was just 14. She was nominated for her performance in the movie Taxi Driver, and while she didn't win at the time, she has since been nominated for four more Oscars and has won two, so far.

Young Jodie Foster

This year she's nominated again for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Nyad.

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3.Saoirse Ronan earned her first Oscar nomination in 2007 for her performance in Atonement. At the time, she was just 13. She didn't win that year, but has since been nominated for three more Oscars.

Saoirse Ronan on red carpet in green gown with empire waist and ruched details
Steve Granitz / WireImage

4.Quvenzhané Wallis was just 9 years old when she earned her Best Actress nomination for her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild. She was nominated in 2013 and became the youngest actor nominated in this category ever, and third youngest actor nominated for any acting category.

Quvenzhané Wallis at the Oscars
Steve Granitz / WireImage

5.Marlee Matlin was 21 when she won her Oscar for her performance in Children of a Lesser God in 1987. She was the first deaf actor to ever win the award and at the time, the youngest Best Actress award recipient.

Marlee Matlin with her Oscar
Bob Riha Jr / Getty Images

6.Haley Joel Osment was 11 years old when he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in The Sixth Sense back in 2000.

Haley Joel Osment at the Oscars
Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

7.Keira Knightley was only 20 years old when she was nominated for Best Actress in 2006 for her performance in Pride & Prejudice. She was nominated again nearly a decade later for her performance in The Imitation Game.

Keira Knightley at the Oscars
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

8.Leonardo DiCaprio was 19 when he earned his first Oscar nom in 1994 for his performance in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. He didn't win at the time but went on to earn six more Academy Award nominations. He finally won his first Oscar in 2016 for his performance in The Revenant.

Young Leonardo DiCaprio
Barry King / WireImage

9.Abigail Breslin was just 10 years old when she was nominated in 2007 for her performance in Little Miss Sunshine.

Young Abigail Breslin at the Oscars
Bob Riha Jr / WireImage

10.Anna Paquin was 11 years old when she was nominated and won the award for Best Supporting Actress in 1994. She won for her performance in the movie The Piano.

Young Anna Paquin with her Oscar
Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

11.Mary Badham was 10 years old when she earned her nomination in 1962 for her performance in To Kill a Mockingbird. At the time, she was the youngest actor ever nominated for this award and held on to that title for a decade.

Young Mary Badham at the Oscars
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12.Elliot Page was 20 when he earned his first Oscar nomination in 2008 for his performance in Juno.

Closeup of Elliot Page
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13.Justin Henry was 8 years old when he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1980 for his performance in Kramer vs. Kramer. While he didn't win, he currently holds the title as the youngest person ever to be nominated for an Academy Award acting category.

Young Justin Henry at the Oscars
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

14.Lucas Hedges earned his first Oscar nomination in 2017 for his performance in Manchester by the Sea. He was only 20 at the time.

Lucas Hedges in a classic black tuxedo with a bow tie on the Oscars red carpet
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

15.Jennifer Lawrence was only 20 years old when she was nominated for her first Oscar in 2011. At the time she was nominated for her performance in the movie Winter's Bone. She went on to win her first Academy Award in 2013 for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook. She's earned four Oscar noms in total, so far.

Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars
Jeff Vespa / WireImage

16.River Phoenix was only 18 when he earned his nomination in 1989 for his performance in Running on Empty. He tragically died five years later. In 2020, Joaquin Phoenix, River's younger brother, won his first Oscar and honored River in his speech.

Young River Phoenix
Barry King / WireImage

17.Finally, Linda Blair was 13 years old when she earned her Oscar nomination in 1974 for her performance in The Exorcist.

Linda Blair at the Oscars
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images