Natalie Portman in Leon (The Professional) (Absolute Gold Standard)
Sarah and Emma Bolger in In America (it probably helps that they are actual sisters)
Patty McCormack in The Bad Seed
Tatum O’Neal in Paper Moon
Jean-Pierre Léaud in The 400 Blows
Anna Paquin in The Piano
Heather Matarazzo in Welcome to the Dollhouse
Kirsten Dunst in Interview With the Vampire
Christina Ricci in The Addams Family (sentimental favorite)
Top 10 (in no particular order)
Tatum O’Neal, Paper Moon
John Adames, Gloria (80)
Heather Matarazzo, Welcome to the Dollhouse
Alfred Lutter, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Kristen Stewart, Panic Room
Margaret O’Brien, Our Vines Have Tender Grapes
Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver
Matt Dillon, Over the Edge
Dakota Fanning, War of the Worlds
Mary Badham, To Kill a Mockingbird
Tatum O’Neal- Paper Moon, hell yeah.
Keisha Castle-Hughes- Whale Rider
Ivana Baquero- Pan’s Labyrinth
Danny Lloyd- The Shining
Miko Hughes- Kindergarten Cop- “Boys have a penis, and girls have a vagina”
And I know I’m pushing it at age 14 but…
Edward Furlong- Terminator 2
Many of you have mentioned Tatum O’Neal’s performance in PAPER MOON. I didn’t include it in my list because of some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the film’s making. Supposedly (or at least I’ve been told), little Tatum began to set records for the most takes ever required on simple dialogue scenes. She even surpassed Marilyn Monroe in that regard (and Marilyn had the excuse that she was depressed and over-medicated).
At one point, director Bogdanovich offered her candy to get the line right and she demanded CASH, which she was promptly handed.
I know we should judge actors/actresses primarily by what we see ON THE SCREEN but these “insider” stories have sometimes clouded my view of a performance. Besides (and I hope I don’t set off a bunch of nasty replies), I think Tatum overacted in PAPER MOON. She got her Oscar for being “cute” and for being the daughter of one of the biggest box-office stars of that era. (Plus, I assume that you’ve all read the gossip columns about how Ryan hit on his daughter at Farrah’s funeral. Maybe he had the excuse that he was depressed and over-medicated, and hence didn’t recognize his own daughter?)
I, too, have reservations about awarding praise to children’s performances. How much is falsely elicited to get the desired effect? Do the child actors know what they are doing? I think a lot has to do with the vessel. Is the child, in any way, a partner in the creation? How much are they really feeling? I can only judge by the finished product. Sometimes you can sense that the child is participating. Watch Anthony Wager in “Great Expectations.”
I thought awarding Patty Duke the Best Supporting Oscar (however I damn that false prize) over Angela Lansbury in “The Manchurian Candidate” was an overwhelmingly ridiculous injustice.
I’m surprised nobody mentioned Thomas Turgoose, who was superb in This Is England. Or the two lads in Son of Rambow.
Take it easy there Dr. Frank…Tatum’s still alive and kicking…and most likely has a lot of lawyers :-0
Thanks for the warning, Jaspar. However, I don’t think I said anything that’s actionable. I’m within my rights to say Tatum overacted in PAPER MOON and to quote reports about her behavior on the set (which came from Bogdanovich, I think).
On the other hand, Ryan O’Neal might have a legitimate lawsuit against the media tabloids IF he really did NOT proposition his own daughter (Tatum) at Farrah Fawcett’s funeral, but I was just quoting those reports, so I don’t think anyone can sue me. (Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from watching courtroom dramas!) :-)
Danny Lloyd – THE SHINING
The title of the topic is just says “Favorite Performances” not “Best Performances”. I agree that most child actors probably aren’t very skilled at the craft and are just judged by their cuteness level, but they still entertain us.
Natalie Portman – Leon: The Professional
Giorgio Cantarini – La Vita é Bella
Ellen Page – Hard Candy
Leonardo di Caprio – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Enzo Staiola – The Bicycle Thief
Ana Torrent in Cria Cuervos Jean Pierre Leaud in The 400 BlowsNatalie Portman in LeonHaley Joel Osment in The Sixth SenseKeisha Castle Hughes in Whale Rider
the little boy from The Shining
Nothing beats Jackie Earl Haley as the “Jeepers, Creepers” kid in The Day of the Locust.
The only other contender would be that Karate Ritalin kid from Smokin’ Aces. The movie was terrible but he sure had some skillz!
I’d agree with Dan/Cesar here, Natalie Portman in Leon: The Professional.
And while not being a movie, I’d say Erik Per Sullivan in Malcolm in the Middle.
Kolya Spiridonov – Italianetz
Jaden Smith The Pursuit of Happyness
Jonathan Lipnicki Jerry Maguire
Mina Mohammad Khani The Mirror
Nicholas Hoult About a Boy
no one seems to named Alfred Lutter,who played Ellen Burstyn’s son in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,just shows how overlooked this film is,among other Scorsese masterpiece
best known for Shane (1953)Good-bye, My Lady (1956) d. William Wellman w/ Walter Brennan
also The Member of the Wedding (1952) d. Fred Zinneman w/ Julie Harris, Ethel Waters
Brad Renfro – The Client (1994)
#1: Kate Winslet & Melanie Lynsky – Heavenly Creatures (if they were young enough to count)
In no particular order:
Lina Leandersson & Kåre Hedebrant – Let The Right One In
Ivana Baquero – Pans Labyrinth
Peter Ostrum – Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Natalie Portman – Leon The Professional
Jodie Foster – Taxi Driver
Dakota Fanning – Just about anything prior to 2005
Hayley Joel Osment – A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Tatum O’Neal – Paper Moon
Abigail Breslin – Little Miss Sunshine
Freddie Highmore – Finding Neverland
Anbigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) was only mentioned in the last two entries (Joke). I thought her acting was great. However Alan Arkin, when asked if she should win the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ Oscar, responded “I hope not. She’s only 8 years old!”
Perhaps there should be a lower age limit as well.
Yella Rottländer in Alice in den Städte. Funny and cute, yet very mature for her age.
Nobody has mentioned SHIRLEY TEMPLE, the most famous child actor of all time. I guess her fame is fading. I also thought of JUDY GARLAND though perhaps she wasn’t a ‘child’ in THE WIZARD OF OZ.
Brian Madorsky – Parents
Wiley: good one…nothing worse than crippling paranoia through the eyes of a child
Marsh – I think Shirley Temple was entertaining and adorable, but I don’t think she was by any means a great actress.
Although Heidi does tend to get to me, I think it’s mainly nostalgia.
YU Yun-Mi in JEON Soo-Il’s ‘With A Girl of Black Soil’ (2007).
Also Laetitia Guerard and Leora Barbara in Sylvie Verheyde’s ‘Stella’ (2008).
And Rebecca Griffiths in Andrea Arnold’s ‘Fish Tank’ (2009).
A little older: Steven Spirling in Henner Winckler’s ‘School Trip’ (2002).
Adan Jodorowsky as 8-year-old Fenix in “Santa Sangre.” Not an easy role for a child, involving some of the things it does.