Oscars 2011: Hailee Steinfeld Joins Long List Of Young Hollywood Nominees

by Sterling Wong

With only two acting credits prior to “True Grit,” Hailee Steinfeld emerged from out of left field to score a Best Supporting Actress nomination at this year’s Academy Awards for her role in the Coen Brothers-directed Western as Mattie Ross, a resourceful and tough-as-nails youth seeking vengeance on the man who killed her father.

Although she ultimately lost the award to Melissa Leo, the nomination was a victory all by itself. By all accounts, we see great things for Hailee Steinfeld’s post-Oscar nominated career — especially if she lands the lead role in “The Hunger Games,” which is a very real possibility based on her meeting with director Gary Ross.

But Steinfeld’s continued success isn’t a certainty; indeed, not every young actor in Hollywood to secure attention from the Academy has gone on to greatness. After the jump, take a look at some other recent Young Hollywood nominees and how their brush with Oscar gold influenced the careers that followed.

Saoirse Ronan, “Atonement” (2007)
The thirteen-year-old Irish actress scored a Best Actress nod for her amazingly mature and poised portrayal of a privileged young girl in “Atonement” in 2007. Since then, Ronan has continuously nabbed high-profile roles, like the lead in Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones” and this spring’s action-centric “Hanna.” There’s also talk that Ronan has a role in Jackson’s two-part “The Hobbit.” A role in what is bound to be another beloved fantasy classic and box office behemoth? We’d say Saoirse is doing quite well for herself!

Abigail Breslin, “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006)
Breslin was already a seasoned pro with plenty of credits (including M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs”) under her belt when she received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for a scene-stealing role in “Little Miss Sunshine.” Since then, she’s turned in great work in “Nim’s Island,” the tear-jerking “My Sister’s Keeper” and, of course, “Zombieland.” With a potential sequel to Ruben Fleischer’s horror-comedy in the works, Breslin is another young actress currently on a strong path.

Keisha Castle-Hughes, “Whale Rider” (2002)
The New Zealand actress’ raw and natural performance in “Whale Rider” indicated a career with limitless potential. She followed the Oscar-nominated turn with a small part in “Revenge of the Sith” and as the Virgin Mary in 2006’s “The Nativity Story,” but her momentum hit a snag one year later when she had a baby at 17. Since then, Castle-Hughes has maintained a fairly low profile, choosing to reside in Auckland and only participating in a handful of projects since her daughter’s birth.

Haley Joel Osment, “The Sixth Sense” (1999)
Forever known as the kid who saw dead people, Osment famously earned a Best Supporting Actor nod for his moving work in “The Sixth Sense.” He spent the next several years working with A-listers like Kevin Spacey and headlining Steven Spielberg’s ambitious ‘A.I.,’ but adolescence cruelly halted Haley’s momentum, and some personal troubles (including a DUI charge in 2006) didn’t help his cause.

Leo DiCaprio, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” (1994) & Jodie Foster, “Taxi Driver” (1976)
Up for awards at 18 and 14 respectively, Leonardo and Jodie represent the gold standard of young nominees with successful careers in adulthood. DiCaprio followed “Gilbert Grape” by winning the hearts of teen girls everywhere in “Romeo + Juliet” and “Titanic,” and these days, he’s one of Hollywood’s most prominent leading men with a countless amount of celebrated roles in his catalogue. Meanwhile, Jodie went on to win two Oscars for “The Accused” and “The Silence of the Lambs,” and is now a respected director and producer as well. For both DiCaprio and Foster, it was straight to the top, and they’ve remained perched there ever since.

Are you disappointed that Steinfeld lost at the Oscars? Where do you see her career going next? Tell us what you think in the comments section and on Twitter!