12 Youngest Academy Award Winners in History

Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple (Source: USA Today)

Hollywood’s most prestigious emblem, Oscars have long been treasuring the artistic and technical excellence of elderly stars.

But, it’s a very rare scenario that the young performers have taken the golden statue to their home.

Youngest Oscar Winners
Youngest Oscar Winners (Source: Eagles Vine)

So, let’s take a time to reminisce on such 12 youngest academy award winners in history who proudly claimed the honor by defying the odds and defeating some of the industry’s all-time greats with their iconic performances.

Quick Overview

Youngest Academy Winners In History Age
1. Shirley Temple 6 years
2. Tatum O’ Neal  10 years
3. Anna Paquin 11 years
4. Patty Duke 15 years
5. Timothy Hutton  19 years
6. Marlee Matlin 21 years
7. Jennifer Lawrence 22 years
8. Janet Gaynor  22 years
9. Anne Baxter 23 years
10. Joan Fontaine 24 years
11. Audrey Hepburn 24 years
12. Angelina Jolie 24 years

Youngest Academy Award Winners in History

The information and details has been compiled from trusted sites on the web including Hollywood Reporter and Wikipedia.

12. Angelina Jolie

Coming to this spot is the iconic, stunning, and renowned Hollywood star, director, and philanthropist, Angelina Jolie.

The versatile actress, Jolie began to make her mark in Hollywood in the late 90s and early 2000s.

She first landed into acting at the age of 7 in 1982 by playing alongside her father Jon Voight in the comedy film, Lookin’ to Get Out.

Angelina-Jolie
Angelina Jolie (Source: 9GAG)

But, her breakthrough came when she played a charming but rebellious sociopath Lisa Rowe in the 1999 psychological film, Girl, Interrupted.

Jolie won an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2000 at the age of 24.

To date, her smash movies include A Mighty Heart (2007), Changeling (2008), and Maleficent (2014).

Further, Jolie has garnered three Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards from her acting career.

11. Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn was one of the greatest Hollywood and fashion icons of the 50s and 60s.

She was a ballerina and did minor film roles and performed as a chorus girl in West End Musical Theatre since 1948.

But, Hepburn rose to fame with her debut film as Princess Anne in Roman Holiday in 1953. For her per on the film, she won an Oscar for Best Actress in 1954 at the tender age of 24.

Audrey-Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn (Source: IMDb)

Besides, she also received a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Award.

Moreover, the irresistibly charming, elegant, and talented actress is among the 16 Hollywood stars to win EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscars, and Tony Awards).

Further, Hepburn’s other smash films The Nun’s Story (1959), Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961), and Wait Until Dark (1967) made her 3 times Oscar nominee.

10. Joan Fontaine

Joan Fontaine was the finest British-American actress of the “Golden Age”.

During her acting career which spanned more than five decades (1935-1994), Fontaine appeared in more than 45 films, winning an Oscar out of three nominations.

Joan-Fontaine
Joan Fontaine (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Renowned as a lead actress in Alfred Hitchock’s films, Fontaine won her first Oscar for playing Lina McLaidlaw in the 1941 psychological thriller, Suspicion. She was 24 years at that time.

Her other Oscar nominations for Best Actress are from Hitchock’s psychological thriller, Rebecca (1940), and Edmund Goulding’s romantic film, The Constant Nymph (1943).

Fontaine is the only actress to win an Oscar in Hitchock’s film.

9. Anne Baxter

Anne Baxter was a renowned Hollywood actress of the 40s and 50s.

She debuted in Old Hollywood with Richard Thorpe’s 1940 film, 20 Mule Team.

But, Baxter’s breakthrough came with the role of Sophie MacDonald in The Razor’s Edge (1946).

Anne-Baxter
Anne Baxter (Source: Playbill)

She won an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress at the age of 23.

Moreover, Baxter had a portfolio of working with some of the greatest directors in Hollywood like Alfred Hitchock, Cecil B. Dille, etc.

Further, she received a Laurel Award for Topliner Female in Dramatic Performance in the epic religious film, The Ten Commandments (1956) where she played the Egyptian queen, Nefertari.

8. Janet Gaynor

Janet Gaynor was an oil painter and a prominent Hollywood actress of the 20s and 30s.

She was better known for starring in Fox Film Corporations blockbusters like 7th Heaven (1927), Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), and Street Angel (1928).

Janet-Gaynor
Janet Gaynor (Source: Vintage Everyday)

With her striking performances in these films, Gaynor won an Oscar for Best Actress in 1929 at the tender age of 22.

Besides, Gaynor was the first recipient of the first Academy Awards that was held in 1929. At that time, actors could win an Oscar for multiple performances, and she won for her three films.

Moreover, Gaynor also won another Oscar nomination for starring in the notable first version of A Star is Born in 1937.

7. Jennifer Lawrence

Coming to this spot is an A-list American actress and activist, Jennifer Lawrence.

Jennifer made her acting debut in 2008 by playing a supporting role in the drama, Garden Party.

But, her breakthrough came when she starred as Ree Dolly in the coming of age mystery drama, Winter’s Bone (2010).

Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence (Source: Pinterest)

In 2013, Jennifer won an Oscar and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress at the tender age of 22. She received it for her notable performance as a young widow with an unnamed mental disorder, Tiffany in the romantic film, Silver Linings Playbook (2012).

Her other illustrious film roles include the mutant Mystique in X-Men Series (2011-2019), and Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games film series (2012-2015).

Moreover, Jennifer is the recipient of several accolades. To name a few, she has won three Golden Globe Awards, seven MTV Movie Awards, and a BAFTA Award.

6. Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin is an American actress, author, and philanthropist.

In 1987, Matlin won an Oscar for Best Actress at the tender age of 21 with her film debut in the romantic drama film, Children of a Lesser God (1986).

She starred as Sarah Norman, a hesitant to speak deaf woman who falls for a man in the film.

Marlee-Matlin
Marlee Matlin (Source: Pinterest)

Moreover, Matlin is the only deaf person to win an Oscar in the film industry.

Besides, she has played in notable series like Reasonable Doubts (1991-1993), Seinfeld (1993), and Picket Fences (1993), etc.

Further, the Hollywood Walk of Famer has also won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

5. Timothy Hutton

Holding the 5th spot is a prominent American actor of the 80s and 90s.

Timothy Hutton became the youngest male actor to win an Oscar at the age of 19.

He played the supportive role of Conrad in the classic family feature film, Ordinary People (1980).

Youngest Academy Award Winners- Timothy-Hutton
Timothy Hutton (Source: Pinterest)

Aside from Oscars, Hutton also received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor from the film.

Prior to that, Hutton played in ABC’s popular drama, Friendly Fire (1979).

Over the course of his acting career, Hutton has starred in notable films like Taps (1981), The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), and The Dark Half (1993).

4. Patty Duke

Anny Marie Duke famous as “Patty” was an American actress, author, and mental health advocate.

Patty had a thriving acting career in several TV series and featured films from the 60s to the 90s.

In 1963, Patty won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the age of 15. She portrayed the role of Hellen Keller for the biopic, The Miracle Worker (1962).

Youngest Academy Award Winners- Patty-Duke
Patty Duke (Source: Wikipedia)

Her other notable films include Valley of the Dolls (1967), Me, Natalie (1969), My Sweet Charlie (1970), etc.

Moreover, the Hollywood Walk of Famer also won two Golden Globe Awards, and three Primetime Emmy Awards during her acting career.

Patty Duke was the Screen Actors Guild President from 1985 to 1988.

3. Anna Paquin

Holding the 3rd spot is a Canadian-born New Zealand actress.

Anna Paquin won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress with her film debut as Flora McGrath in the beautiful romantic film, The Piano (1993). She was just 11 years at that time.

Youngest Academy Award Winners- Anna-Paquin
Anna Paquin (Source: Pinterest)

As an adult, Paquin rose to fame when she starred as the mutant Rogue in the X-Men film series (2000-2014).

Besides, her other notable works include the Vampire series True Blood (2008-2014), The Courageous Heart of Irena Slender (2009), and The Irishman (2019).

2. Tatum O’ Neal

Tatum O’ Neal is a veteran actress and author from Los Angeles.

In 1974, at the age of 10, O’ Neal won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Addie Loggins in the comedy film, Paper Moon (1973).

Besides, she also won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year-Actress from the film.

Youngest Academy Award Winners- Tatum-O'-Neal
Tatum O’Neal (Source: Heart Radio)

In 1976, O’Neal starred as Amanda Wurlitzer in the smash-hit sports comedy film, The Bad News Bears.

Moreover, O’ Neal also has appeared in popular series like Sex and the City, 8 Simple Rules, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Further, she appeared as a doctor in the heartfelt and moving movie based on Alzheimer’s, Not to Forget (2021).

1. Shirley Temple

At the top comes one of the greatest female American screen legends of classic Hollywood.

Shirley Temple was Hollywood’s number one child actress with box office hits spanning from 1934 to 1938.

She debuted as an actress in 1931 when she was just 3 years old.

Youngest Academy Award Winners- Shirley Temple Oscars
Shirley Temple Oscars (Source: Cinema Clássico)

In 1934, she starred as Shirley Blake in the light-hearted comedy film, Bright Eyes which won her a Juvenile Oscar at the tender age of 6.

Besides, her hit musical films include Curly Top (1935), and Heidi (1937).

After retiring from acting in 1950, Temple went to pursue her career as a diplomat in 1969. She then served as a Chief of Protocol of the US under Charles W. Yost and the US ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

Further, Temple also won Kennedy Center Honors and Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award for her acting career.

In 2014, Temple succumbed to the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the age of 85.

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