Oscar Nominees: The Inside Story

Before the red carpet is rolled out, get to know some standout stars and find out what made their performances so special.

Keisha Castle-Hughes

Nomination: Best Actress, Whale Rider
Why Her?: "She's lovely, carries herself with authority and conveys deep feeling with a mere look or a slump of her shoulders," wrote PEOPLE movie critic Leah Rozen.
Did You Know?: The New Zealand native, 13, had never acted until a casting agent discovered her a couple of years ago. She is now the youngest Best Actress nominee in history for her portrayal of a Maori girl struggling to prove herself as a leader to her grandfather.

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