17 Greatest Hollywood Unknowns to Win Oscar Gold – From Anna Paquin to Hilary Swank (Photos)

Good news for Lupita Nyong'o and Barkhad Abdi: The best known actor doesn't always win Oscar night

1 of 20
ANNA PAQUIN ("The Piano," 1993): The "True Blood" star was 11 and unknown in Hollywood when she won her supporting actress trophy and memorably blinked at the crowd, overcome by emotion. Holly Hunter, who played her mute mother in the period movie set in New Zealand, won the Best Actress Oscar that year.
  • dianeselwin

    James Caan did not win an Oscar for Misery

  • A.L. Hern

    “HAING S. NGOR (“The Killing Fields,” 1984): A Cambodian doctor who was tortured by the Khmer Rouge, Ngor brought real life hardship to role of New York Times photographer Dith Pran in Roland Jaffe's film.”

    Roland JOFFE, “Staff” (does no one want to take credit for this piece?), not Jaffee.

    And John Houseman was much more than a “theater director and acting teacher,” having produced nearly thirty films, beginning with Orson Welles's “Too Much Johnson” in 1938.