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

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