As the wide-eyed, terrified young boy who sees dead people in M Night Shyamalan’s hair-raising thriller, Osment went toe-to-toe with Bruce Willis and left with a nomination for best supporting actor in 2000. His whispered monologues and glassy stares keep you on the edge of your seat.
9. Brandon De Wilde for Shane, aged 11
Best remembered for its touching final scene in which De Wilde begs a departing gunfighter (Alan Ladd) to stay with him, George Stevens’s sweeping western has hidden depths. The earnestness of De Wilde’s performance won over critics and got him a best supporting actor nomination in 1954.
10. Patty McCormack for The Bad Seed, aged 11
Behind her angelic facade, McCormack’s character, Rhoda, is a devious killer in this psychological horror directed by Mervyn LeRoy. She was nominated for best supporting actress in 1957 and praised for her depiction of a girl who drowns classmates by day and manipulates adults by night.
11. Anna Paquin for The Piano, aged 11
Jane Campion’s lyrical period piece was a vehicle for two Oscar-winning turns in 1994: best actress for Holly Hunter as a passionate pianist and best supporting actress for Paquin as her mischievous, strong-willed daughter. The latter’s astonished acceptance speech is one of the sweetest in history.