Special Report

Actors Who Won an Oscar in Their Debut Role

6. Timothy Hutton
>Film: Ordinary People (1980)
>Role: Conrad Jarrett
>Award category: Actor in a Supporting Role

The son of actor Jim Hutton, Timothy Hutton became the youngest man to earn an acting Oscar, when he won for Best Supporting Actor at 20. Hutton played the emotionally damaged son of a family torn apart by the death of a family member. To date, this has been his only Oscar nomination. Hutton has had a busy career, however, with 85 acting credits, many of them as appearances on television series such as “American Crime” and “How to Get Away with Murder.”

Source: John Gooch / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

5. Haing S. Ngor
>Film: The Killing Fields (1984)
>Role: Dith Pran
>Award category: Actor in a Supporting Role

The life of Haing S. Ngor could itself be a movie. He was a physician in the Cambodian army before the genocidal Khmer Rouge took over the nation in 1975. He was imprisoned, tortured, became a refugee, and came to the United States in 1980. Even though he had no formal acting training, he was picked to play photographer Dith Pran in “The Killing Fields,” about the Cambodian conflict. He won for Best Supporting Actor. In 1996, Ngor was found shot to death in the garage of a Los Angeles apartment building.

Source: Rich Fury / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

4. Marlee Matlin
>Film: Children of a Lesser God (1986)
>Role: Sarah
>Award category: Actress in a Leading Role

When Marlee Matlin won the Best Actress Oscar in her role as Sarah in the film “Children of a Lesser God,” she made history. At 21, she was the youngest performer to win for Best Actress, and also the first hearing-impaired person to win an acting Oscar. This was her only Oscar nomination and win to date. She has been nominated several times for an Emmy.

Source: Jason Merritt/TERM / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

3. Anna Paquin
>Film: The Piano (1993)
>Role: Flora
>Award category: Actress in a Supporting Role

Born in Canada and raised in New Zealand, Anna Paquin became the second-youngest actress to win a competitive Academy Award when she took home the Best Supporting Actress for her role as Flora in “The Piano” when she was only 11. Paquin has had a busy career since then, with 54 acting credits. She appeared in Martin Scorsese’s film “The Irishman” and was in the football-themed movie “American Underdog,” released last year.

Source: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

2. Jennifer Hudson
>Film: Dreamgirls (2006)
>Role: Effie White
>Award category: Actress in a Supporting Role

Gifted with a booming voice, Jennifer Hudson, at 25, became the youngest African-American to win Best Supporting Actress when she took home an Oscar for her role in “Dreamgirls.” The film is based on the Broadway show of the same name about a trio of Black female singers seeking stardom in the 1960s. Besides winning an Academy Award, the former “American Idol” contestant also has won several Grammys.

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