Saoirse Ronan is defying the odds for young actors at the Oscars

Best Actress?
Best Actress?
Image: Reuters/Mike Blake
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Saoirse Ronan is in great company heading into the Oscars on Sunday—even if she’s never won an award.

At 23, the actress received her third nomination this year. She was recognized, this time, for her starring role in Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age comedy, Lady Bird, in which plays a spectacularly complex California teen navigating life, family, love, and friendship near the end of high school. The indie film was one of the best-reviewed titles of 2017. She’s competing against A-list stars like Meryl Streep and Frances McDormand for the Best Actress award—one of Hollywood’s top acting honors. And she’s the second favorite to win, behind McDormand.

Ronan was first nominated in 2008, at the age of 13, for her supporting role in Atonement. She received another Best Actress nod in 2016 for the lead in Brooklyn, and has yet to win.

Still, she defies the odds for young Oscar-nominated actors, Quartz found—based on an analysis of IMDB and Chicago Tribune data on Oscar nominees. She’s just one of three Oscar alums nominated for the first time before turning 20 to be recognized by the Academy again, later in their careers. Jodie Foster and Leonardo DiCaprio are the only other two with that distinction. They were each nominated four times, one more than Ronan.

Give her time.

Other young stars who earned their first Oscar nominations before they were old enough to vote weren’t as fortunate. They were never recognized on the Oscars’s stage again. Remember, Tatum O’Neal (Paper Moon), Linda Blair (The Exorcist), Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense), and, rest in peace, River Pheonix (Running on Empty).

Unfortunately for Ronan, it took DiCaprio 22 years from that first nomination to finally win. And he had to fight a bear to do it. Foster’s trajectory is more encouraging: she landed two Oscars by the age of 30.