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Forever Starlet
Celebrating young actresses of yesterday and today
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6th-Feb-2016 11:34 am - The 2016 NAACP Image Awards
The 47th Annual NAACP Image Awards
Held February 5, 2016, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Hosted by Anthony Anderson.

This year's NAACP Awards, an event recognizing black achievement in Hollywood, garnered more attention than usual, largely due to the controversy surrounding Hollywood's biggest award show, the Oscars. For the second year in a row, the Oscars have failed to nominate a single person of color among their acting awards, and several black actors, led by Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, have chosen to boycott the Oscars in protest. Many presenters and winners addressed this at last night's show; host Anthony Anderson said in his opening monologue that "this is what diversity is supposed to look like," and Taraji P. Henson, accepting Outstanding Actress: Drama Series for Empire, said, "We don't need to ask from acceptance from anyone."

But let's talk about the child actresses. Like last year, it was a big night for the two young actresses of black-ish, which won Outstanding Comedy Series.

Marsai Martin, 11, won Outstanding Supporting Actress: Comedy Series for black-ish, the same award that was won last year by...

...her TV big sister Yara Shahidi, 15. This year's event was was so big that it was split into two separate shows. Marsai's award and several other TV awards were presented at the non-televised show on February 4.

Yara and Marsai goofing off in the press room with their TV brother, Miles Brown.

Other young actresses who attended this year:

Trinitee Stokes attended to support KC Undercover, her Disney Channel show with Zendaya, which was nominated for Outstanding Children's Program but lost to Doc McStuffins.

Skai Jackson, 13, was nominated for Outstanding Young Performance for her Disney Channel show Jessie, but she lost to Marcus Scribner for black-ish. Marsai Martin was also nominated in this category.

Genneya Walton, 15, attended to support her Netflix miniseries Project MC², which was nominated for Outstanding Children's Program.

Keke Palmer, 22, fresh off her performance in Grease: Live! last weekend, was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for Brotherly Love, but she lost to Sanaa Lathan for The Perfect Guy.

Previous posts on the NAACP Awards: 2015.
In her latest movie The Benefactor, Dakota Fanning plays a young woman, Olivia, who loses both of her parents in a tragic accident. Now that she's expecting a child with her husband Luke (Theo James, 31, Divergent), she realizes she's still in need of paternal guidance and turns to family friend Franny (Richard Gere, Bee Season), a wealthy, secretive philanthropist. We asked Dakota what attracted her to this psychological drama: "It was just so beautifully written and when I met Andrew [Renzi], the writer/director, I just connected with him."

But it was Olivia's warmth and sensitivity that Dakota was most interested in exploring: "It's such a stressful time in her life. She's young and having a baby and trying to stay calm while all this craziness is happening around her. She's trying to relax, put herself first, nurture her child, but there's the dichotomy of the craziness of Richard's character."

Director Andrew Renzi, Theo James, Dakota, and Richard Gere at the premiere of The Benefactor [then titled Franny] at the Tribeca Film Festival, April 2015.

Dakota, who will turn 22 next month, grew up in front of our eyes on film. We asked her to tell us about the best and worst parts of child stardom. "The best part is I have this timeline of my life. I started when I was 6 so I can go back and watch one of those films, which I don't do all the time, but I'm old enough now that it seems like I'm watching a different person so I can watch the movies without feeling embarrassed. They're not home movies obviously, but my life is captured on film and it's there forever, which is scary but also cool. When I'm older or even when I'm gone, my great-grandchildren can see them."

And as for the worst part: "It's all fine, I've kind of made my peace with the worst parts. But for the rest of my life, I will constantly hear, 'Oh, you're so grown up!' When you're 14 and someone says, 'I thought you were still 8 years old, you go, 'Oh! Don't say that to me.' It's the last thing you want to hear. So that was annoying for a while, but I think it's taught me that the only people who really know you are yourself and the people you surround yourself with — your family and your friends. Those are the only opinions that truly matter and I've managed to turn off the negative things and it's made me stronger. I know who I am, I know how old I am, even if no one else does. That's all that matters. I can't control anything else and it's taught me a good life lesson. Everything's pretty much out of your control... unfortunately, for a control freak like me [laughs]."

Then and Now: (left) Dakota, age 8, at the premiere of The Wild Thornberrys, December 2002, and (right) age 21 at the annual Young Hollywood Party, May 2015.

We asked Dakota if she's ever had a hard time finding roles that were challenging enough or struggled to find strong female characters to play: "I feel like I've been lucky in the things I've done. I've been able to find good roles. But there are a lot of times when you read something and the role is the girlfriend and I think, no, I don't need to be just the girlfriend."

Because the lack of good female film roles has been discussed so much lately, we asked Dakota what she thinks it will take for Hollywood's viewpoint on women to change. "It's difficult because you have to change a whole attitude, the way people think about women in life. I think women are expected to get married and have kids and be beautiful all the time, be sweet and nice all the time. But that's not the way it is. Sometimes, women don't want to have kids or get married and that's totally fine. Sometimes, women have bad days and don't feel like being polite. The way we see women on film will change when the everyday thought process changes. It's a difficult thing to do; sometimes it happens gradually over time, but I hear a lot of good conversations happening so that's a positive thing. But I just don't buy into stereotypes."
31st-Jan-2016 10:23 am - Awards Season 2016: SAG!
The 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
Held January 30, 2016, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Kiernan Shipka, 16, attended the SAG Awards for the last time supporting Mad Men, which was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series but lost to Downton Abbey. Kiernan always dresses so impeccably, and I think she looked really fabulous here!

The three young actresses of Modern Family - Sarah Hyland, 25, Ariel Winter, 18, and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, 8 - attended to support their show, which was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series but lost to Orange Is the New Black.

Maisie Williams, 18, and Sophie Turner, 19, attended to support their show Game of Thrones, also nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Saoirse Ronan, 21, and Brie Larson, 26, have faced off against each other every step of the award-show rounds so far. As she did at the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice, Brie once again beat Saoirse (nominated for Brooklyn), taking home Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Room. Likely she'll win the Oscar, too.

Remember when Anna Chlumsky and Christina Ricci starred together in the 1995 kidventure flick Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain? They were each nominated at SAG this year! Now both 35, Anna was nominated with the cast of Veep for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, and Christina was nominated for Oustanding Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie for The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.

And three more former '90s child stars. Gaby Hoffmann, 34, and Mayim Bialik, 40, were nominated in Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series for Transparent and The Big Bang Theory. Claire Danes, 36, was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in Drama Series for Homeland.

Kate Winslet, 40, was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Steve Jobs, and Diane Lane, 51, was nominated with the cast of Trumbo for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture.

Previous posts on the SAG Awards: 2015, 2014, 2011, and 2010.
Film: Black or White (2014). Young Actress: Jillian Estell, age 10.

Ever since her mother died in childbirth, Eloise (Jillian) has been raised by her wealthy, white maternal grandparents. She's well-adjusted and happy with them, but when she's seven, her grandmother suddenly dies in a car crash, and her hard-drinking grandfather Elliot (Kevin Coster, Waterworld) starts drinking even more in his grief. Eloise's black paternal grandmother Rowena (Octavia Spencer) pushes him for a shared custody arrangement, fearing that he can't raise her by himself.

Elliot and Rowena lock horns, but they both love Eloise and respect each other enough that they could probably reach an agreement. Things change when Rowena's son Reggie (Andre Holland), Eloise's deadbeat, drug-user dad, reenters the picture. Just as Elliot can't admit that he has a drinking problem, Rowena can't admit that her son isn't fit to be a father and doesn't really want the job, either.

Eloise between Elliot and Rowena at a pool party

This movie isn't a masterpiece, but it is a solid family drama. I got the impression that it was trying to be shockingly honest and smart in how it addressed race relations in America, and while it doesn't really accomplish that - Elliot and Rowena's issues with each other are never really about race - it's still worth watching.

For me, the highlight of the movie is Jillian's performance. Not only is she as cute as can be, but Eloise is also written and acted very naturally. When Elliot breaks the news that her grandmother has died, Eloise doesn't immediately burst into tears or take a deep breath and try to be brave, like we've all seen before. She goes in a different direction: Smelling the alcohol on Elliot's breath, she asks if he's been drinking, then argues with him about a friend's name, then finally admits, "I'm super sad," and starts to cry. From puzzled to petulant to devastated, Jillian conveys each emotion very well.

Eloise is a child in the middle of a custody battle, but she's never the wide-eyed "prize to be won" cliche of Dakota Fanning's Lucy in I Am Sam. She's more like Onata Aprile in What Maisie Knew, in how unaffected and unassuming she is. The movie does fall prey to some cliches, though. Elliot, like too many father figures in film, has a few "bumbling dad" moments, but they're brief enough and somewhat excused by his age that they aren't as painful as usual.

Photos of Jillian on the set and at the premiere here.
17th-Jan-2016 09:52 pm - Awards Season 2016: Critics' Choice
The 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards
Held January 17, 2016, at the Santa Monica Airport's Barker Hangar. Hosted by TJ Miller.

I said last year that I always look forward to this event because it has a Best Young Actor/Actress category. But this year, for only the second time in the event's history, the nominees in this category were all boys. (This isn't counting the three years, 2004-7, that the award was split into two separate categories, Best Young Actor and Best Young Actress.) It's true that this season saw more notable young actor performances than young actress ones, but I hardly think it was to the extent that no young actress deserved a nomination. One of the girls from Steve Jobs or Infinitely Polar Bear could've held her own in this field.

The last time this award was comprised of all boys was fourteen years ago in 2002, when it was called Best Child Performer and the nominees were Tyler Hoechlin, Nicholas Hoult, Daniel Radcliffe, and Kiernan Culkin, who won for Igby Goes Down. (This year, it was Abraham Attah, RJ Cyler, Shameik Moore, Milo Parker, and Jacob Tremblay, who won for Room.) Ironically, the very next year, 2003, the opposite happened, and the nominees were all girls: Sarah & Emma Bolger for In America, Evan Rachel Wood for Thirteen, and Keisha Castle-Hughes, who won for Whale Rider. Maybe this pattern will repeat itself in 2016-17!

But let's take a look at the ladies nominated in other categories...

8-year-old Alyvia Alyn Lind (Blended) was nominated for Best Actress: TV Movie/Limited Series for her starring role as young Dolly in Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors. She lost out to a former child actress, Kirsten Dunst (scroll down).

Shanice Williams, 19, was also nominated for Best Actress: TV Movie/Limited Series for her performance as Dorothy in The Wiz: Live! This year marked the first time that the Critics' Choice TV Awards (usually held during the summer) were presented at the same time as the movie awards. I think that Critics' Choice hopes to mimic the size and audience of the Golden Globes by doing this.

Saoirse Ronan, 21, was nominated for Best Actress for Brooklyn, but she lost to Brie Larson for Room. (Neither Brie, who just won this same award at the Golden Globes last weekend, nor Jennifer Lawrence, who was nominated for Joy, attended.) This was Saoirse's fifth Critics' Choice nomination. She's been nominated once before in the adult category, for The Lovely Bones, and in the Best Young Actor/Actress category, she's been nominated twice (for Atonement and Hanna) and won once, for The Lovely Bones.

Saoirse at a screening of Brooklyn at the Museum of Modern Art on January 15. She's been campaigning so hard, and while I'm sure that she would love to win, I get the impression that it has more to do with her wanting to be seen as an adult than with winning. Best Actress is such an usually strong field this year; if Brooklyn had come out at a different time, I think that Saoirse would be winning for sure.

Hayden Panettiere, 26, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress: Drama Series for Nashville, but she lost to Constance Zimmer for UnReal. She and Nashville costar Jonathan Jackson also presented the award for Best Acting Ensemble to Spotlight. Critics' Choice was Hayden's first TV appearance since she entered rehab for postpartum depression in October; her daughter Kaya was born December 2014.

Kirsten Dunst, 33, won Best Actress: TV Movie/Limited Series for Fargo.

Mayim Bialik, 40, won Best Supporting Actress: Comedy Series for The Big Bang Theory.

Previous posts on the Critics' Choice Awards: 2015, 2014, 2011, and 2010.
14th-Jan-2016 08:45 pm - Remembering Alan Rickman
British actor Alan Rickman died of cancer today, January 14. He was 69, the same age as British musician David Bowie, who also died of cancer on January 10. Rickman was best known to most young people for playing Professor Severus Snape, Hogwarts potions master, in the eight Harry Potter films. The three young actresses of Harry Potter all paid tribute to Rickman on via Twitter today.

Some Twitter trolls accused Emma of exploiting Rickman's death to promote her feminist campaign. I wish they get back under their damn bridges. Emma also retweeted tributes from several other Potter actors.

Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny Weasley, posted on her Instagram account: "Alan. The energy shifted every time you walked onto set. You were an inspiration to us all. RIP." accompanied by a photo of Rickman as Snape. I can't link to it because Instragram doesn't allowed their content to be embedded on other websites.

And other young actresses who remembered Rickman:

The quote that Isabelle shared became a popular one on social media in the wake of Rickman's death.

11th-Jan-2016 09:05 pm - Awards Season 2016: Golden Globes
The 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards (held yesterday, January 10, at the Beverly Hilton) was one of the most underwhelming shows in recent years. It didn't help that even host Ricky Gervais, who mispronounced Quvenzhane Wallis's name last year, seemed bored with it. But the good news is that there were so many former young/child actresses as winners and nominees!

I have nothing against Zendaya Coleman, 19, but I do find it puzzling that she gets invited to prestigious award shows like this one and last year's Oscars. She's more of a singer than an actress nowadays, and she's not especially famous. Can someone explain this?

Corinne Foxx, 21, who grew up attending award shows with her father Jamie Foxx, was this year's Miss Golden Globe. Miss Golden Globe was originally an award given to an emerging young actress, but over time, it became a title given to a celebrity daughter.

Saoirse Ronan, 21, was nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture: Drama for Brooklyn, but she lost to Brie. Hers was the only nomination for Brooklyn at the Globes, which I think slowed down her otherwise strong momentum.

Jennifer Lawrence, 25, won Best Actress in a Motion Picture: Musical/Comedy for Joy. Jennifer and Amy Schumer did one of the funniest bits of the show when they presented clips together from Joy and Trainwreck (both nominated for Best Picture: Comedy). They had such great rapport, almost as good as Amy Poehler and Tina Fey last year.

Brie Larson, 26, won Best Actress in a Motion Picture: Drama for Room, which was also nominated for Best Motion Picture: Drama and Best Screenplay. Saoirse, Jennifer, and Brie are all projected to get Best Actress nominations at the Oscars, but no frontrunner has emerged for that category yet.

Emmy Rossum, 29, attended together with her fiance, writer/producer Sam Esmail, whose show Mr. Robot won Best TV Series: Drama.

Kirsten Dunst, 33, was nominated for Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie for Fargo, but she lost to Lady Gaga for American Horror Story: Hotel.

Gaby Hoffmann, 34, attended to support her show Transparent, which was nominated for Best TV Series: Musical or Comedy but lost to Mozart in the Jungle. These photos are of Gaby at Amazon's afterparty; I couldn't find any photos of her at the actual show.

Kate Winslet, 40, won Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for Steve Jobs. (Her Titanic costar Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Actor: Drama for The Revenant.) This is Kate's third Golden Globe win.

It is wonderful to see these ladies all looking so good and doing so well! This year's Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, and the Critics Choice Awards are next Sunday!

Previous posts on the Golden Globes: 2015.
6th-Jan-2016 08:39 pm - Awards Season 2016: People's Choice
The new year is here, and so are the 42nd Annual People's Choice Awards. This is the first of several award shows held in January (People's Choice, Golden Globes, Critics Choice, SAG) and perhaps because it's the first, it's also one of the weakest. This year's show was held January 6, 2016, at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, and hosted by Jane Lynch.

Stefanie Scott, 19, attended to support her horror flick Insidious: Chapter 3, which was nominated for Favorite Thriller Movie.

Katherine McNamara, 20, attended to promote her upcoming ABC Family series Shadowhunters, based on the Mortal Instruments books, which premieres on January 12.

Keke Palmer, 22, and Vanessa Hudgens (below) attended together to promote their upcoming live musical production of Grease, scheduled to air on Fox on January 31. Fox decided to produce a live Grease after seeing NBC's success with live musicals The Sound of Music (2013) and Peter Pan (2014). ABC is also jumping on the bandwagon: last month, they announced a live musical Dirty Dancing, starring Abigail Breslin, 19.

Vanessa Hudgens, now 27, said when she first joined Grease at this time last year: "Being Rizzo is something I've never imagined, and I love that because it will be a new challenge. She is such an iconic character that continues to transcend generations. I cannot wait to bring her to life on live television. I'm going to be a Pink Lady!" But 2016 will mark eight years since the release of High School Musical 3, and I do wonder how happy Vanessa really is to literally still be doing high school musicals.

The Girls of Grease: Vanessa (Rizzo), Keke (Marty), Julianne Hough (Sandy), 27, Carly Rae Jepsen (Frenchie), 30, and Kether Donohue (Jan), 30. Just like the 1978 Grease, this high-school movie will apparently have no actual teenagers in it.

Former child actress Claire Danes, now 36, was nominated for Favorite Premium Cable TV Actress, but she lost to Kristen Bell. She did go onstage with the cast of Homeland to accept the show's award for Favorite Premium Cable TV Show.

Former child actress Mayim Bialik, now 40, attended together with the cast of her show The Big Bang Theory, which won Favorite TV Show and Favorite TV Comedy.

Previous posts on People's Choice Awards: 2015, 2011, and 2010.
27th-Dec-2015 06:16 pm - Young Actresses on Christmas Eve-Day

On December 23, Jennifer Lawrence, 25, once again paid a visit to Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, KY.

On December 24, Landry Bender, 15, and Emmy Rossum, 29, both joined the LA Mission in serving meals to homeless and needy families in downtown Los Angeles.

Vanessa Hudgens, 27, and her boyfriend Austin Butler, 24, celebrated Christmas Eve together at Disneyland in Anaheim.

Bella Thorne, 18, and her boyfriend Gregg Sulkin, 23, celebrated their first Christmas together at Bella's home in Los Angeles.

Previous posts on Christmas: 2014.
18th-Dec-2015 06:48 pm - Z100's 2015 Jingle Ball
Several radio stations hold Jingle Ball events at this time of year. These photos are from Z100's Jingle Ball event was held December 11, at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, which quite a few young actresses attended.

Chloe Moretz, age 18, went together with Nick Robinson, 20, and Alex Roe, 25, her costars in her next movie, The 5th Wave.
The apocalyptic teen flick is scheduled for release next month.

Laura Marano, age 20

Selena Gomez, age 23, performed several songs onstage. She's been attending lots of Jingle Ball events this year.

Also making the Jingle Ball rounds lately is Hailee Steinfeld. Although she didn't attend the Z100 show (likely because it was held on December 11, Hailee's 19th birthday) she has performed at several others. Her fashion has been so uneven recently. Her performance outfits are getting smaller and smaller, but she still covers up considerably at other events.

Hailee at Q102's Jingle Ball on December 9 in Philadelphia: arriving vs. performing.

Hailee has always dressed kinda dowdy (flashback to how much she stood out at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards) so I really have to wonder how comfortable she is in such skimpy attire.
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