Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oscar's Collection: The Youngest Best Actress Nominees

Another Oscar Trivia Explosion. This time it's the Actresses. 

Jennifer Lawrence made quite a film-carrying impression in Winter's Bone this past summer. It was one of the leggiest arthouse hits in some time, playing for months, and wracking up $6+ million without a huge advertising budget or bankable stars and with grim subject matter. Well done. At Christmas Hailee Steinfeld will lead us on a revenge journey in True Grit. While we suspect she's the lead actress as well, people her age are almost always demoted to "Supporting" if they're sharing the screen with a big star as co-lead and she is. Hi, Jeff Bridges! But we're pretending she's an Oscar lead today so as to have double the excuse to make this list. Humour us, won'cha?


36 Youngest Best Actress Nominees
And where Jennifer or Hailee would fit in, were they to be nominated. (Winning performances are in red.) Disclaimer/Bragging: You won't find info this extensive elsewhere! The Official Oscar site / Wikipedia only offer top tens. However the following info is approximate. Though the Academy's top ten is down to the day of the actual nominations, they don't provide official nomination dates only ceremony dates. Inside Oscar and Wikipedia also only list the ceremony dates so we're just using February 1st, ∞ as a general calculation date for when nominations happened for given years.

Youngest "Best Actress" Wins: Matlin & Gaynor
  1. Keisha Castle Hughes, Whale Rider (2003) was 13.
    Wow, well would you look at this? Either Jennifer Lawrence or Hailee would become #2 if nominated for Best Actress.
  2. Isabelle Adjani, The Story of Adele H (1975) was 20. [more]
  3. Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice (2005) was 20 going on 21. [more]
  4. Ellen Page, Juno (2007) was about to turn 21. [more]
  5. Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God (1986) was 21
    She's the youngest winner of all time in this category.
  6. Elizabeth Hartman, A Patch of Blue  (1965) was 22.
  7. Kate Winslet, Titanic (1997) was 22 and 4 months [more]
  8. Janet Gaynor, Seventh Heaven/Sunrise/Street Angel (1927/1928) was just a few days older than Winslet.
  9. Leslie Caron, Lili (1953) was 22½
  10. TIE! Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman (1990) and Winona Ryder, Little Women (1994) [more on Julia, more on Noni]
    They were both 23 years and 108 days old when they were Best Actress nominated. And here's another twin moment: it was the second nomination for both as they'd been previously honored in Best Supporting Actress.
    What's in the box? Your first BEST ACTRESS nomination!
    As you can already see this list skews quite a bit younger than the parallel "Ten Youngest Best Actor List which ends with a 27 year old.
  11. Lynn Redgrave, Georgy Girl (1966) was 23. 
  12. Liza Minnelli, The Sterile Cuckoo (1969) was 23. [more]
  13. Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace (2004) was 23.
  14. Carol Kane, Hester Street (1975) was 23.
  15. Natalie WoodSplendor in the Grass (1961) was also 23. [more]
  16. Joan Fontaine, Rebecca (1940) was 23. [more]
  17. Laura DernRambling Rose (1991) was 24. [more]
  18. Merle Oberon, The Dark Angel (1935) was 24. 
  19. Jennifer JonesThe Song of Bernadette (1943) was 24. [more]
  20.  Julie ChristieDarling (1965) was 24. [more]
  21. Shirley MaclaineSome Came Running (1958) was 24. [more]
  22. Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday (1953) was 24. [more]
  23.  Jeanne Crain, Pinky (1949) was 24.
  24. Carey Mulligan, An Education (2009) was 24. [more]
  25. Joan Fontaine, Suspicion (1941) was 24. (becoming the youngest actress to earn Two-Time Best Actress Nominee status.)
  26.  Teresa WrightPride of the Yankees (1942) was 24. [more]
  27. Elizabeth TaylorRaintree County (1957) was 25. [more]
  28. Audrey HepburnSabrina (1954) was 25.
  29. Carrol BakerBaby Doll (1956) was 25.
  30. Maggie McNamaraThe Moon is Blue (1953) was 25.
  31. Natalie WoodLove with the Proper Stranger (1963) was 25.
  32. Hilary SwankBoys Don't Cry (1999) was 25 [more]
  33. Greta Garbo, Anna Christie/Romance (1929/1930) was 25. [more]
  34. Carrie SnodgressDiary of a Mad Housewife (1970) was 25.
  35. Gene Tierney, Leave Her To Heaven (1945) was 25. 
  36. Grace KellyThe Country Girl (1954) was 25. [more]
Audrey & Natalie () are the runners up to Joan Fontaine's "youngest 
woman to achieve 'Two-Time Best Actress Nominee' status." They both did it 
by 25. (It was Natalie's 3rd nom, see also supporting, but she never won.)

26 year olds in chronological order are (winners in red): Katharine Hepburn, Morning Glory (1932/1933), Luise Rainer, The Great Ziegfeld (1936), Wendy Hiller, Pygmalian (1938), Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind (1939), Joan Fontaine, The Constant Nymph (1943), Jennifer Jones, Love Letters (1945), Elizabeth Taylor, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Shirley Maclaine, The Apartment (1960), Samantha Eggar, The Collector (1965), Faye Dunaway, Bonnie & Clyde (1967), Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl (1968), Liza Minnelli, Cabaret (1972), Jodie Foster, The Accused (1988), Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love (1998), Samantha Morton, In America (2003), Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married (2008) and Gabourey Sidibe, Precious (2009).

Why did I stop there when the male list went to 30? Well, have you ever seen William Wyler's The Collector (1965) with Samantha Eggar and Terence Stamp?

Sexy Stockholm Syndrome: Stamp & Samantha in Sixty-Five

In the movie Terence Stamp plays an unbelievably sexy charismatic creep --perhaps he's just meant to be a creep but it's Stamp so --  who stalks and then kidnaps a beautiful young redhead (Eggar) who he takes to his lair intending to wine and dine her. It's easy to interpret it as a deeply symbolic film about The Academy Awards and their annual mauling/coopting of young actresses into Oscar's circus. "Get in the van missy, you're going to the Kodak!" [Where am I going with this?  Abort. Abort... Note to self: Blog Tourettes Medication. Look into it. Not all trains of thought need airing.] 

Ahem... You'll notice, perhaps sadly if you're a trivia nut like me, that this list does not include everyone up to the age of 30 as the corresponding Best Actor list did. Let me put it to you this way: in the whole history of the Academy Awards the Oscars have only nominated a leading man under thirty 22 times in 80+ years. I had planned to make this list exactly parallel, but I wasn't yet out of the 1930s (the 1930s!) and I was already past a top 25 and there was no way the list would ever be finished given that there were still 70+ years to go! So I decided I'd have to stop at age 26 and even then you can see that the numbers just explode.

In other words... Terence "Oscar" Stamp in The Collector! Here are The Girls from the past decade.

  Youngest Lead Actress Nominees of the Aughts

Do these lists make you feel old? Perhaps you aged just trying to make it through?

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