15 Child Actors who Absolutely Nailed their Roles

27th July, 2020

Some adorable, pint-sized artists have managed to steal the spotlight from their adult co-stars and have rightfully earned the praises they deserved.

15 Child Actors who Absolutely Nailed their Roles Shutterstock

It’s near impossible to forget child stars like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone , Mckenna Grace in Gifted , and the very adorable Brooklynn Prince from The Florida Project . Child actors have time and again proven to be equally good, if not better than their adult co-stars—sometimes even stealing the limelight from A-Listers. Here's looking at you, Mr. Osment. While some child actors, like Scarlett Johansson and Chritian Bale, have gone on to be successful film stars as adults, some like Mara Wilson chose very different paths. Check out these 15 iconic child actors whose outstanding work can never be forgotten.

1. Kiernan Shipka in Mad Men

2. Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone

This post by @homealone1992 has made us all nostalgic for this all-time favorite film. Macaulay Culkin convincingly played an ignored, overlooked child, and this plight with his parents made him very endearing for the audience. Needless to say, his courage alone made him every kid’s hero.

3. Haley Joel Osment in Sixth Sense

Osment emerged as one of the breakout stars from his generation. His earnest acting of a haunted boy won him a million hearts and an Oscar nomination. @emilyosmentlove shared this terrific picture of little Haley!

4. Anna Paquin in Piano

At the tender age of 11, Anna Paquin exceptionally played the supporting character of a mute Scottwoman’s daughter. Her acting skills won her the title of second-youngest Academy Award winner in Oscar history. @_annapaquinfan, that look though!

5. Mckenna Grace in Gifted

@the_prefect_reviews, we couldn’t agree more! Well, we love Mckenna Grace in all her movies, but this one took the cake for us. We completely adored her innocence, as she craved for a normal childhood without the guidance of her parents.

6. Dakota Fanning in I am Sam

Sean Penn convincingly plays the role of a father with an intellectual disability, but Lucy (Dakota Fanning), at the tender age of 7, won hearts as a daughter who takes care of her father. @movieaday2020, this sure is the best scene from the movie.

7. Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild

While we felt the anger, happiness, and fear in her eyes, Quvenzhané was all of six years old when they began shooting. @iamrhonamitra is right! Let’s watch it all over again.

8. Jacob Tremblay in Room

Jack didn’t have a role that people could relate to. But seeing him astonished at normal situations and unable to face anyone but his mum sure had our hearts ache a little. @cinemafilmsart posted a still of Jacob watering a plant.

9. Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun

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EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987) Christian Bale was selected out of more than 4,000 who auditioned. Steven Spielberg had seen Bale in Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (a 1986 mini-series), and Amy Irving, who starred in it, personally recommended Bale to Spielberg, her then-husband. Spielberg hadn't thought much of Bale in the miniseries, but cast him in the role of Jim after he auditioned. Steven Spielberg had planned a long, continuous shot with Jim standing on top of the building at the prison camp, watching the American planes bomb the airfields. The shot was very complicated and would require a single take. He gave instructions to Christian Bale to get excited, jump up and down, and run around on the rooftop as the planes passed and the bombs went off. However, Bale became nervous as the stunts began, and didn't do much of anything. Since most of the explosions had been used up on this shot, Spielberg (after some soft, fatherly words with the young Bale) improvised with several shots from different close-up angles, eventually getting Bale to give a more excited performance. The film was Christian Bale's theatrical debut and received six Oscar nominations, but lost all of them to The Last Emperor (1987). #movie #trivia #empireofthesun #comingofage #drama #worldwar2 #war #film #director #stevenspielberg #actors #christianbale #johnmalkovich #benstiller #NigelHavers @christianbale_ #christianbale #hollywood #cinema #instagram

A post shared by @ movieskaleidoscope on Jul 5, 2020 at 5:17am PDT

Thanks for the insight, @movieskaleidoscope! Being cast at the age of 11, Bale, with full conviction, played the role of an English boy who becomes a prisoner of the Japanese. His yearning to see his parents had us reaching out for tissues.

10. Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine

Ahhh, this grandfather and granddaughter duo makes for one of the best duos in movie history. Remember how she loved mimicking expressions of beauty pageant contestants and delivered those hyperactive fits? @the.filmstudent, thanks for pulling out our favorite clip from the film.

11. Millie Brown in Stranger Things

Eleven says it all with just that one look! Those intense scenes where she uses her psychokinetic and telepathic abilities always had us floored. We weren’t surprised to see the actor grace the big screen as well.

12. Jack Grazer in It

Warner Bros’ horror blockbuster saw Jack Grazer playing Eddie, the germaphobe. We absolutely loved how his character developed from a fragile boy to the strongest of all the Losers. @qt.grxzer, we love the Losers, too.

13. Marsai Martin in Black-ish

14. River Phoenix in Stand by Me

The movie unfolds a beautiful story about four boys who decide to go on a hike in search of a guy that went missing. The young artist’s work appealed to the audience and was unforgettable. Check out the comments on @retro_vibez’s post, and you’ll know.

15. Brooklyn Prince in The Florida Project

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“Your loss baby!” ☎️

A post shared by ???????????????????? (@tel.evison) on Oct 22, 2019 at 3:39am PDT

Darla and Alfalfa were #RelationshipGoals for every ‘90s kid. We adored the 5-year old who effortlessly delivered the adult-spun ironies. This cute clip by @tel.evison makes us want to watch it all over again!
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