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Paquin's A Kid at Heart

She has already won an academy award but...

Louis B. Hobson

BEVERLY HILLS -- Anna Paquin wants to set the record straight. She's first and foremost a 14-year-old and only secondly an actress.

"I stumbled onto acting and I'm not even certain I'm one of those child actors who can make the transition into an adult actor," says Paquin, who won a supporting actress Oscar in 1994 for playing Holly Hunter's daughter in The Piano.

She was barely able to speak as she clutched her statue.

"I honestly hadn't prepared a speech. My parents told me to be very pleased that I even got nominated. They told me that the Oscar rarely goes to a child."

Prior to Paquin's win, Tatum O'Neal was the last child to win an Oscar and that was in 1973 for Paper Moon when O'Neal was 10 years old.

"I was totally dumbfounded. I honestly couldn't speak. How I looked when they called my name and when I was up on stage is exactly how I was feeling. That was no acting."

When Paquin returned to New Zealand, "there were a few reporters at the airport and the newspapers called us a few times after that but the fuss died down quickly."

Paquin was determined to put the stars out of her eyes and get back to being a normal teen. She hid her Oscar away in a drawer in her bedroom.

"If I were to have kept the Oscar in the open, people would ask about it and that's the last thing I want."

Paquin turned down numerous film offers, finally agreeing to star as the young Jane Eyre in Franco Zeffirelli's remake of the Charlotte Bronte classic.

She then agreed to star in Fly Away Home, the story of an Ontario teenager who adopts a flock of geese and eventually teaches them how to migrate.

"Fly Away Home appealed to me because it is a Canadian story and I'm actually half Canadian."

Paquin -- whose father is Canadian and mother is a New Zealander -- was born in Winnipeg and lived there for four years. Last year, while Paquin was filming Fly Away Home in Ontario, her parents divorced.

Paquin has just completed filming the lead in Member Of The Wedding.

"I'm determined to put this acting thing on hold for as long as possible again. I want to get back to being a 14-year-old girl."

Does that include having a steady boyfriend?

"I go to an all-girls school so it's not too likely I'll have a boyfriend in the near future."

Calgary Sun, September 17, 1996