Castle-Hughes at a press conference for The Vintner's Luck, September 2009
24 March 1990
Donnybrook, Western Australia, Australia
|Occupation||Film actress / Presenter|
|Domestic partner(s)||Bradley Hull|
Keisha Castle-Hughes (born 24 March 1990) is a New Zealand film actress who rose to prominence playing Paikea "Pai" Apirana, in the 2002 film Whale Rider. She was cast as Pai at the age of eleven. Whale Rider was nominated for many awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actress of which she was the youngest female nominated in the Best Actress category and an award at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards for Best Actress, which she won in 2004.
Since she made her film debut, Castle-Hughes has appeared in various films including Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger (2008), New Zealand tele-movie Piece of my Heart (2009) and a small role in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). She also played the main role of the Virgin Mary, in the film The Nativity Story in (2006).
In 2003, Castle-Hughes made her debut in the film Whale Rider, in which she played the main role of Paikea Apirana (Pai). She had not had any previous acting experience, and the 11-year-old actress went directly from her Auckland school classroom to the film set when the shoot began in New Zealand, in late 2001. Castle-Hughes received widespread critical acclaim for her performance and the film turned her into an international celebrity. In 2004 she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress at the 76th Academy Awards. Although she did not win the Best Actress award, she became the youngest person nominated in this category and becoming the first Polynesian to ever become nominated.
She soon followed the role by appearing in Prince's controversial music video for his song "Cinnamon Girl" and with a shoot in Vanity Fair magazine. In 2004, Castle-Hughes was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In 2005 Castle-Hughes' had a small part as Queen Apailana in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. In 2006 she portrayed the starring role as the Virgin Mary in The Nativity Story. New York Times critic A. O. Scott said that she "seemed entirely unfazed by the demands of playing Mary. She had the poise and intelligence to play the character not as an icon of maternity, but rather as a headstrong, thoughtful adolescent transformed by an unimaginable responsibility." The Christian-themed film earned only $8 million during its opening week, but its box office surged during the week of Christmas,. Overall, it made approximately $44.3 million USD. One critic later speculated: "It may have been harmed by the fact that its leading lady, Keisha Castle-Hughes, was found to be unwed and pregnant just as the movie's publicity campaign began."
In 2007 Castle-Hughes appeared in Australian comedy-drama film Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger, which was filmed in late 2006. She reunited with New Zealand director Niki Caro for the film adaption of The Vintner's Luck, which had its international premiere in September 2009. She will also have a starring role in Mona's Dream, the story of Mona Mahmudnizhad.
Castle-Hughes was born on 24 March 1990 in Donnybrook, Western Australia to Desrae Hughes, a M─üori mother, and Tim Castle, an English-Australian father. Her parents, who never married, later separated. She was 18 months old when her family moved to New Zealand; she became a New Zealand citizen in 2001.
She has three younger brothers and a younger sister. Her siblings include Rhys, Liam, Maddisyn, and Qayde. She is currently living in Papakura, Auckland and was once a student of Waiuku Primary School, Bailey Road School, Penrose High School, and Rosehill College, all in Auckland. On 25 April 2007, she gave birth to a daughter, Felicity-Amore, at age seventeen. The baby's father is Hughes' boyfriend of four years, Bradley Hull.
Castle-Hughes is currently campaigning for Greenpeace as part of the SignOn.org.nz climate campaign. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key initially admonished her to "stick to acting", but offered a week later to discuss the issues with her over a cup of tea after she maintained she knew more about them than he gave her credit for.
|2002||Whale Rider||Paikea||Academy Award nomination|
|2005||Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith||Queen Apailana of Naboo||Cameo|
|2006||The Nativity Story||Mary|
|2008||Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger||Sunni|
|Piece of My Heart||Young Kat|
|2009||The Vintner's Luck||Celeste|
|2003||New Zealand Film and TV Awards||Best Actress||Whale Rider||Won|
|Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|2004||Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences||Best Actress in a Leading Role||Nominated|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards||Best Young Actor/Actress||Won|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Chlotrudis Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society Awards||Best Breakthrough Performance||Won|
|Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards||Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role - Female||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Breakout Movie Star - Female||Nominated|
|Young Artist Awards||Best Young Actress in an International Film||Won|
|2007||Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress||The Nativity Story||Nominated|
|2009||Qantas TV and Film Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Piece of My Heart||Won|
Keisha Castle-Hughes (born 24 March 1990) is a New Zealand actress who became famous for her role in Whale Rider, for which she became the youngest female ever nominated for the Academy Awards' Oscar for Best Actress. She has also played the Virgin Mary in the movie The Nativity Story (2006).