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

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