While most Oscar experts are predicting SAG winner Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) or BAFTA champ Dev Patel (“Lion”) to win Best Supporting Actor, Academy Award history would be made if Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”) scored a upset in the category.
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At age 20 and 76 days, Hedges would become the youngest-ever Best Supporting Actor winner, breaking the record held for more than three decades by Timothy Hutton, who garnered the prize for his turn in “Ordinary People” (1980) at age 20 years and 228 days. The next in line on the roster of past champs is “West Side Story” (1961) winner George Chakiris, who was age 27 at the time of his Oscar victory.
However Hedges, while junior to the overwhelming majority of acting nominees over the 89 Oscars, doesn’t make the cut for all-time youngest actors recognized by the Academy. In some cases, he is more than twice the age of past acting nominees.
To date, the youngest actor to garner an Oscar nomination was Justin Henry who, at the mere age of eight, was recognized for his acting debut in the Best Picture-winning “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979). Ironically, Henry lost that Oscar to Melvyn Douglas (“Being There”) who, at age 79, is the third-oldest performer to win the Best Supporting Actor prize.
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Two nine-year-old actors have scored nominations in Oscar history – Jackie Cooper, in the title role of “Skippy” (1931), and Quvenzhané Wallis, leading lady of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (2013). Wallis also marked the 10th African-American to grace the Best Lead Actress category. Ultimately, Cooper and Wallis lost to Lionel Barrymore (“A Free Soul”) and Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”), respectively. At 22 years, 193 days, Lawrence became the second-youngest ever Best Actress winner, just shy of a year older than Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God,” 1986).
The all-time youngest Oscar-winner for acting, Tatum O’Neal (“Paper Moon”), garnered her golden statue at age 10. O’Neal is among four 10-year-olds recognized for their performances at the Oscars, all in the category of Best Supporting Actress. The other three honorees – Mary Badham (“To Kill a Mockingbird,” 1962); Quinn Cummings (“The Goodbye Girl,” 1977); and Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine,” 2006) — lost to Patty Duke, the category’s third-youngest winner, for “The Miracle Worker”; Vanessa Redgrave (“Julia”); and Jennifer Hudson, the eighth-youngest Best Supporting Actress winner, for “Dreamgirls” respectively.
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At age 11, Anna Paquin became the second-youngest Oscar-winning performer to date, for her work in “The Piano” (1993). Patty McCormack (“The Bad Seed,” 1956); Haley Joel Osment (“The Sixth Sense,” 1999); and Brandon De Wilde (“Shane,” 1953) were also 11 years old during their respective Oscar bids. Those three, however, did not emerge victorious falling to Dorothy Malone (“Written on the Wind”); Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”); and Frank Sinatra (“From Here to Eternity”), respectively.
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