‘News Of The World’ Star Helena Zengel Joins Ranks Of Youngest Golden Globe Nominees At Age 12

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This morning, 12-year-old German actress Helena Zengel earned her first Golden Globe nomination for her turn opposite Tom Hanks in Western, News of the World.

With this recognition for her American film debut, she becomes one of the youngest actors ever nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and finds herself in good company.

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To put things in perspective, Zengel is younger, as she accepts her first nomination, than were a number of revered actors at this pivotal career moment, including Saoirse Ronan (first nominated for Atonement), Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen), Natalie Portman (Anywhere But Here) and Jodie Foster (Freaky Friday).

Also receiving their first Golden Globe nominations at the age of 12 were Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) and Kirsten Dunst (Interview with the Vampire).

For Zengel, the recognition feels “very, very good.”

“I didn’t expect that at all,” she told Deadline this morning, after purchasing carrots for her horse, “and I’m so excited about it.”

In Paul Greengrass’s latest drama—which comprised Zengel’s first experience in America—the actress plays Johanna, a young girl in post-Civil War America, who was taken from her family by the Kiowa tribe at a young age, coming to bond with Hanks’ migrant reader-of-the-news, Captain Kidd.

Signing with CAA in December, as her performance generated talk across town, the actress has already been reading scripts and talking with producers about roles in future projects. “I cant say much [about them],” she said, “but [I’m] going to be [doing] some new, great movies.”

At the 78th Golden Globe Awards, Zengel will compete in the category of Best Performance By an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture. Her fellow contenders are Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father), and—interestingly—the aforementioned Foster (The Mauritanian).

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