In 2004, 13-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes became the youngest person ever to be nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Actress category. Born in Australia to a Maori mother and an Australian father, Castle-Hughes was discovered by a casting agent at her school in Mt. Wellington, New Zealand. With no previous acting experience, she made her film debut as the courageous, young Paikea in the highly acclaimed film Whale Rider. She won awards from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Chicago Film Critics Association, and Online Film Critics Society for her performance. Castle-Hughes's roles for 2005 include the Queen of Naboo in Star Wars: Episode III.
Biography by Andrea LeVasseur
- Her father, Tim Castle, is a former Australian rules football player.
- Won the lead part in 2002 drama Whale Rider despite having no acting experience and not knowing how to swim.
- At age 13, became the youngest actress ever nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role in Whale Rider.
- Appeared in Prince's 2004 music video "Cinnamon Girl."
- After the filming of 2006 Biblical drama The Nativity Story, in which she played the Virgin Mary, the 16-year-old actress announced she was pregnant by 19-year-old boyfriend Bradley Hull.
- Supports Greenpeace and was a climate ambassador for New Zealand's Sign On campaign.