13 Cute Kids Who Stole Our Hearts At The Oscars
Just about every year, one young actor or actress completely hijacks the Oscars red carpet with their charm, innocence, and energy.
This year, all signs point to Brooklynn Prince, the 7-year-old actress from The Florida Project, as being the talk of the town come Oscar night. She isn't nominated for any awards, with her film scoring only one nomination (Best Supporting Actor for Willem Dafoe), but she did get emotional when she won Best Young Performer at the Critics Choice Awards in January — and suggested that she and her fellow nominees all go out for ice cream after the ceremony.
Let's take a look back at who else we wanted to grab a cone with after their Oscars appearance, including two kids who played young versions of Dev Patel, one kid with a Star Wars secret, one kid who wouldn't put down his brainiac toy, and one current nominee.
2017: Sunny Pawar, Lion
Chrissy Teigen wasn't alone when she declared "I will not stop until I kiss that face" after seeing 2017 Best Picture nominee Lion. Hollywood totally fell for Sunny Pawar, then 8, for his performance as Young Saroo, and everyone wanted to meet him come the big night. Pawar had stolen the show long before he helped host Jimmy Kimmel recreate The Lion King and made it rain candy, and he did it all in sensible (yet stylish) footwear.
2016: Jacob Tremblay, Room
Jacob Tremblay looked like the consummate professional at the 2016 Oscars, where he attended in support of Best Picture nominee Room, but he was hiding a secret: Star Wars accessories. That's right, the then-9-year-old sported Darth Vader socks and Millennium Falcon cufflinks with his Armani. Later that night, he joined a "new squad" that included R2-D2, C-3PO, and BB-8. In case this kid isn't cool enough, he counts Michael B. Jordan, Chris Evans, and Oscar Isaac among his fans, and Academy Award winner and co-star Brie Larson among his friends.
2013: Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
At just 9 years old, Quvenzhané Wallis was fearless when it came to making a red carpet fashion moment. Throughout the entire awards season, the Beasts of the Southern Wild star toted a series of puppy purses, and the Oscars were no exception. Her performance was just as show-stopping as her accessories, and Wallis became the youngest Best Actress nominee ever that year. She posed with the likes of Halle Berry and Queen Latifah on the red carpet to commemorate the special night.
2012: Uggie the dog, The Artist
If 2013 was the year of pocketbook pups, 2012 was the year of one dog in particular: Uggie. Sure, Uggie is not a child, but how can anyone not melt over this serious actor's bowtie and bone charm? The Artist's Jack Russell terrier took the stage and our hearts when the film won the Best Picture statuette. Sadly, that was Uggie's final appearance at an Academy Awards ceremony, as he passed away in 2015 after battling prostate cancer.
2011: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Hailee Steinfeld hit her first Oscars red carpet with her mom, dad, and brother in tow, and let me remind you that there was no “true grit” involved with her gorgeous princess-inspired beaded gown. A thin headband added a youthful flair to the then-14-year-old Best Supporting Actress nominee’s look, further accentuated when she swapped her heels for a pair of red Converse at the exclusive Vanity Fair after party, because even Cinderella wants to get down at the ball.
2009: Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, Rubina Ali, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala, Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar, and Tanay Hemant Chheda, Slumdog Millionaire
The kids of Best Picture-winner Slumdog Millionaire made a splash at the 2009 Oscars, in part because they came *thisclose* to not making it to the ceremony at all. After securing last-minute passports and tickets to the ceremony, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, Rubina Ali, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala, Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar, and Tanay Hemant Chheda hopped on their first airplane to Hollywood. But even though they rubbed elbows with Miley Cyrus, Angelina Jolie, and Brad Pitt on the red carpet, the Academy Awards wasn't the highlight of the weekend. That honor would go to Disneyland, of course.
2008: Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
Nominated in 2008 for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Atonement, Saoirse Ronan radiated ethereal wisdom on the red carpet — even as a 13-year-old. For her first foray into Hollywood’s Biggest Night, Ronan chose a playful green dress (ahem) and tied her hair into a peppy curled ponytail. She looked like such a pro back then, it’s no wonder she’s headed back to the Academy Awards this year as a third-time nominee.
2007: Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
When Abigail Breslin was 10 years old, she was nominated for an Oscar, picked out a cupcake of a dress with 3D appliqué flowers, and hung out with Nicole Kidman on the red carpet. I cannot relate to any of those experiences, but judging by the smile on her face, this was a pretty incredible night. Representing the Best Supporting Actress category for Little Miss Sunshine, Breslin also had the honor of presenting two Short Film awards, alongside none other than Jaden Smith, which brings me to...
2007: Jaden Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
I know what you're thinking: How could two kids dominate one carpet? I don't know what to tell you other than 2007 was an exceptional time for us all. Anyway, Jaden Smith attended the Oscars on behalf of his film, The Pursuit of Happyness, for which his father, Will Smith, earned a Best Actor nom. The then-8-year-old accessorized his red carpet look with a Rubik's cube, and thus Jaden Smith has always been an intellectual. As mentioned, that night he presented two back-to-back awards with Breslin, but almost forgot to announce the winner of the first award before jumping to the second. (He handled the snafu like a champ, shrugging off his error with a sweetly hilarious, "Oh, that's probably not the right line anyway.")
2004: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider
Keisha Castle-Hughes drastically lowered the bar at the 2004 Oscars — at least, the age bar. At 13-years-old, Castle-Hughes became the youngest Best Actress nominee ever, besting the previous record-holder, 1976 nominee Isabelle Adjani, by seven years — for her work in Whale Rider. That night, pride shone through Castle-Hughes's exuberant smile, giving the red carpet the adolescent energy it needed. Of course, the youngest Best Actress nominee honor now belongs to Wallis, above.
2000: Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense
Apparently, the Academy was just as shook as you were when Haley Joel Osment uttered the sobering line, "I see dead people," to a poor, unaware Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense. The then-11-year-old scored a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 2000 Oscars, becoming the second-youngest nominee in the category ever, behind 8-year-old Justin Henry in 1980. (Osment beat the third place holder, 1954 nominee Brandon deWilde, by just one day!) The world was so taken by the young star that they featured him strutting his stuff on the red carpet in the opening video.
1994: Anna Paquin, The Piano
Anna Paquin won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1994 for her first movie role in The Piano, forecasting her successful career ahead. Stunned and breathless, Paquin spent a full 21 seconds standing wide-eyed at the podium to soak in the moment before beginning her thank yous. At just 11 years old, there was only one person younger than Paquin to ever win this honor, and that was...
1974: Tatum O'Neal, Paper Moon
Tatum O'Neal made Oscars history in 1974, when the then-10-year-old became the youngest Best Supporting Actress nominee and winner for her role in Paper Moon. The precocious starlet rocked a tuxedo that night — a highly stylish move for a girl in the 70s. She also blessed the audience with a very short acceptance speech: "All I really wanna thank is my director, Peter Bogdanovich, and my father. Thank you."