Hear Us Out

Hear Us Out: These Three Teenage Actresses Could Each Land An Oscar Nomination

From Elsie Fisher's star turn in Eighth Grade to Thomasin McKenzie's heartbreaking role in one of 2018's best movies, it's a stellar year for young actresses.

by | July 12, 2018 | Comments

Thomasin McKenzie in Leave No Trace
(Photo by Scott Green /© Bleecker Street Media)

For filmgoers, the year can roughly be divided into two big periods: Grab Yer Popcorn Time (summer) and Watch Fancy People Drink Tea Time (fall awards season). Sometimes, though, a movie – and a performance – can buck this trend. And sometimes, quite rarely, it happens more than once. Currently, we’ve got our hands in a bucket of corn, and we’re seeing three award-worthy performances in theaters. And there’s something even rarer about the group: They also happen to be from actresses under the age of 18.

Hear us out: Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace), and Milly Shapiro (Hereditary) have all given the kind of sit-up-and-pay-attention performances that get awards voters clucking about the chance of a surprise young Oscar contender. Their performances come during what’s been a strong year form young performers generally – we’ve already enjoyed Storm Reid, a smart young woman making science cool in A Wrinkle in Time, and can look forward to Myles Truitt in the action sci-fi film Kin

It’s Fisher, McKenzie, and Shapiro that have the critics talking, though, and each of their performances echoes – and in some cases surpasses – the work of the previous 19 under-18 Oscar nominees or winners. (You know, in our opinion.) Get to know the actors below, the roles that have tongues wagging, and why we think you’re still going to be hearing about them towards the end of the year.


Elsie Fisher in Eighth Grade (2018) 99%

Just when you thought it had totally healed, Elsie Fisher reopens that old middle school-shaped wound you stopped noticing as Kayla in Eighth Grade, currently Certified Fresh at 98%. With her 20-plus credits, including the first two Despicable Me movies, Fisher is no stranger to Hollywood, but there doesn’t appear to be a trace of precocious child-actor affectation in her performance. No matter what era you grew up in, Fisher’s YouTube video sign off of “Gucci!” feels like something we all said, in some way, tinged with anxiety and uncertainty. Growing up gets really difficult at that middle-school stage, and Fisher does it all with a camera running. When you watch it, you get to root for both her and the You of Your Past. Ten-year-old Mary Badham received a nomination for a similar role in To Kill a Mockingbird, where the learning curve was steep and difficult to maneuver.

Nomination reel scene: Kayla burns her hopes and dreams around the fire pit with her father, who is desperate to connect with herTry and watch it without tears. We dare you.


Milly Shapiro in Hereditary (2018) 89%

Milly Shapiro, 15, came to Hereditary as a Broadway veteran, having starred in the stage productions of Matilda the Musical and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. In the Certified Fresh horror film Hereditary, Shapiro’s Charlie didn’t just make a clucking noise mainstream – and utterly terrifying; her restrained and mysterious portrayal of Toni Collette’s character’s introverted daughter resonates throughout scenes she’s not even in, and helps make an unsettling movie even more so. Best Supporting Actress contender? Just maybe. Shapiro brought us straight back to Academy Award nominee Linda Blair in The Exorcist, which is a more physical and aggressive performance – spider walk, anyone?! – but similarly disturbing.

Nomination reel scene: Charlie quietly snips the head off a pigeon with shears and an emotionless stare. That would definitely be an Academy first.


Thomasin McKenzie in Leave No Trace (2018) 100%

At a rare 100% on the Tomatometer with more than 120 reviews, Leave No Trace is the kind of film that makes a writer excited to professionally discover flicks and spread the word. Much of that excitement is due in large part to 18-year-old Thomasin McKenzie, the New Zealand-born daughter of actress Miranda Harcourt and director Stuart McKenzie, who plays Tom, a young woman growing up off the grid with her father (Ben Foster), and dealing with both their non-traditional lifestyle and his PTSD. McKenzie had starred in big-budget films, television, and New Zealand web series before going into this role, and her quiet confidence and sensitivity fills every frame, making a contemplative film feel rich and impactful at every opportunity. Debra Granik directed this one, and was able to bring forth in McKenzie the same fortitude that Jennifer Lawrence’s character showed us in Winter’s Bone, Granik’s 2010 film. That movie earned Lawrence the first of her four Oscar nominations – will history repeat itself with McKenzie?

Nomination reel scene: Tom’s panic rises when she sees her father packing his belongings, signaling yet another migration. Her response is quietly heartbreaking.

Tag Cloud

Grammys satire ghosts YA CBS Disney+ Disney Plus Endgame Crunchyroll Toys Marathons sag awards A&E TruTV romance doctor who Awards kids boxoffice obituary Vudu GoT dramedy rotten movies we love Bravo witnail reviews Cannes universal monsters USA Network Comedy Super Bowl hist Black Mirror christmas movies 2015 BBC One stoner hollywood Amazon elevated horror Mary Tyler Moore Freeform TBS Fantasy Photos YouTube Premium Schedule Lionsgate what to watch hispanic Martial Arts Opinion Mary poppins streaming award winner Disney emmy awards Family spain President war Apple TV+ Musicals Britbox crossover Spectrum Originals zero dark thirty justice league supernatural Cosplay video CMT Song of Ice and Fire comic Crackle historical drama independent X-Men Star Wars mockumentary festivals toy story Comedy Central comiccon slashers spider-man blockbuster Comic Book screenings Lucasfilm thriller stand-up comedy Superheroes Video Games TCA Awards Mary Poppins Returns YouTube Mudbound psycho Sneak Peek quibi Certified Fresh Animation 2019 Nickelodeon YouTube Red tv talk video on demand Year in Review Disney streaming service classics PBS movies Holidays ABC canceled TV shows cancelled television Academy Awards BBC Tomatazos Western CNN Oscars Warner Bros. Sony Pictures critics documentary criterion Turner Chilling Adventures of Sabrina zombie Extras cops harry potter cancelled TV shows Women's History Month Television Academy LGBT docudrama zombies Writers Guild of America Apple TV Plus superhero cats canceled cars chucky sitcom ABC Family A24 VICE comics 007 Binge Guide NBC game of thrones joker parents crime drama franchise Film Festival Pixar 2017 Kids & Family Disney Plus Dark Horse Comics jamie lee curtis Star Trek Black History Month anthology serial killer cancelled Sundance TV TV Land Interview golden globes revenge green book based on movie Creative Arts Emmys game show Rocky Polls and Games Showtime BBC America reboot ratings Columbia Pictures OneApp SundanceTV south america Amazon Prime Video indie See It Skip It Heroines VOD transformers 4/20 Amazon Prime USA psychological thriller PlayStation composers Watching Series MSNBC miniseries Trivia San Diego Comic-Con Summer 24 frames laika all-time a nightmare on elm street aliens period drama Biopics FOX Hallmark Christmas movies teaser concert Syfy Calendar Box Office Sundance Now cinemax DC Universe latino Classic Film First Reviews anime Anna Paquin GLAAD unscripted movie Quiz Winners Marvel Studios sports FX on Hulu Food Network scary movies Captain marvel DGA asian-american politics dogs cults Emmy Nominations worst Rom-Com Ellie Kemper natural history VH1 20th Century Fox National Geographic Mystery OWN TNT 2016 Shondaland CW Seed comedies Esquire TCA Nat Geo TCA 2017 FXX HBO Go Disney Channel Country Netflix Christmas movies crime thriller facebook singing competition First Look adaptation MTV Nominations finale 2018 TV renewals Hulu Thanksgiving 21st Century Fox series free movies TIFF nature SDCC rotten The Purge El Rey IFC Films discovery political drama Tubi Music spanish language Chernobyl ESPN Tumblr Valentine's Day Brie Larson halloween Lifetime Christmas movies Pirates 45 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt The CW name the review Musical fast and furious TCA Winter 2020 breaking bad WGN Rocketman WarnerMedia Awards Tour New York Comic Con binge Lifetime Red Carpet Spring TV Baby Yoda Trailer mission: impossible Premiere Dates Countdown renewed TV shows Comics on TV DC Comics Funimation Sci-Fi book RT History children's TV Paramount Network cancelled TV series Emmys PaleyFest The Witch robots Netflix Winter TV diversity dragons Christmas Turner Classic Movies Election BET Awards directors Action AMC Ghostbusters BET biography 71st Emmy Awards Adult Swim Podcast Mindy Kaling Fall TV best animated cartoon screen actors guild dark Rock Spike die hard talk show 72 Emmy Awards spinoff spy thriller APB foreign Pet Sematary IFC indiana jones werewolf ITV Shudder films batman casting E! TLC Pop TV travel richard e. Grant Character Guide documentaries Logo GIFs cooking TCM Horror adventure technology Marvel Sundance Epix American Society of Cinematographers Arrowverse Set visit strong female leads theme song Peacock crime Hear Us Out HBO Superheroe Hallmark Marvel Television BAFTA 2020 NYCC Stephen King Avengers Amazon Studios Reality Competition Infographic Film dc Ovation science fiction nbcuniversal TV Elton John blaxploitation HBO Max RT21 mutant Pop E3 twilight Reality Discovery Channel versus Best and Worst MCU Teen Masterpiece vampires FX Acorn TV Trophy Talk space CBS All Access dceu SXSW Starz sequel Walt Disney Pictures Fox News Holiday news stop motion child's play Universal disaster Paramount television History Tarantino romantic comedy medical drama Cartoon Network LGBTQ social media The Arrangement Television Critics Association DirecTV Pride Month DC streaming service true crime Apple The Walking Dead Travel Channel Drama police drama