'Manchester By the Sea' 's Lucas Hedges: 5 Things to Know About the First-Time Oscar Nominee

At just 20 years old, Hedges is the youngest acting nominee among this year's hopefuls

"Yen" Cast Photocall
Photo: Laura Cavanaugh/Getty

Get used to hearing the name Lucas Hedges.

Hedges scored a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance as a teen who loses his father in Manchester By the Sea. And at just 20 years old, Hedges is the youngest acting nominee among this year’s hopefuls.

“I was just lying in bed when I found out,” he told PEOPLE. “I jumped out of bed screaming, ‘Mom, Dad I was nominated!’ ”

Here are five things to know about the rising star:

He comes from a famous family.

“My dad [What’s Eating Gilbert Grape writer Peter Hedges] was an actor-turned-playwright, screenwriter and filmmaker. My mom was an actress and is now a poet. I grew up going to my dad’s film set. I was always obsessed with, and in love with, the world of film. My parents were never like, ‘You should do this,’ but I think they’ve known for a long time that this is the world of work that I belong in.”

He got his first movie role in Moonrise Kingdom.

“When I was in 7th grade, I did a school play and the casting director saw me and asked me to audition for Moonrise Kingdom, which I ended up getting. Then I was like, ‘This is the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me. I need more of this.’ I did a theater program the summer of my junior year and that’s when I really fell in love with the craft of acting. It became more about the craft and less about being a working actor.”

He was nervous about doing a Boston accent in Manchester By the Sea.

“It wasn’t intimidating until I got the role. I was literally doing the Boston accent in the movie with [Casey Affleck] the Boston guy. One of the hardest things about the accent is that when you get it right, it feels wrong. It’s an accent that’s so commonly spoofed that when I got it right I felt like I was making fun of it, when in reality. I’m just doing it justice. I definitely had Casey looking out for me though.”

He has a passion for theater.

“I always want to continue doing theater and hopefully start creating my own work. I would absolutely be interested in doing a Broadway production if it was the right project. But my dream is to be writing pieces of theater for my best friends and putting on plays in New York City and seeing our vision come alive. I just hope to always be creating.

His friends help keep him grounded.

“I went home and surprised my friends in North Carolina recently, and it was possibly the best two days of my life. I felt so loved and supported. In the time in my life where I’ve seen the most success, they were the most loving and accepting of me.”

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