If you know you are the talk of Hollywood AND are expected to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, where else would you be but glued to the television the morning the nominations are announced? Well, if you are 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, you leave the sitting through the announcements to your parents, and you sleep in!
“I was in my bed and I heard my parents cheering in the other room — that’s how I woke up,” Steinfeld says. “The first thing that I did, I started crying.”
Before she beat out 15,000 other actresses to win the part that would result in her Oscar nominated performance in “True Grit”, Steinfeld’s biggest credit was a Kmart commercial. After three auditions for the Coen Brothers, the roll was hers and six weeks later she was learning to roll cigarettes and dive into the water while on horseback. Oh, and for the record, Steinfeld likes to point out that the Kmart ad required her to audion eight times before she landed that part.
Steinfeld joins about a dozen actresses under 16 who’ve been nominated for an Oscar, including recent nominees Abigail Breslin and Saoirse Ronan. But only three young actresses have had the honor to take Oscar home: Tatum O’Neal was only 10-years-old when she won for “Paper Moon”, Anna Paquin was 11 when she received her Oscar for “The Piano”, and Patty Duke was 16 when she claimed her Oscar for “The Miracle Worker”.
When asked what she finds most exciting as she prepares for Oscar night, Steinfeld sounds like any other teenage girl. “I would have to say, you know, just getting my hair and makeup done, and having fittings for these red carpet events,” she says. “That’s a lot of fun.”
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