New Zealand actress Thomasin McKenzie has been tipped for an Oscar nomination for her breakout role in Leave No Trace.

The Hollywood Reporter's awards columnist Scott Feinberg has named the 18-year-old Kiwi as a "major threat" for the best supporting actress category.

Feinberg makes his prediction based off publicly available information, historical considerations, precursor awards and consultations with industry insiders.

Although McKenzie is the leading actress in the film, Feinberg has her tipped for the supporting category as "young actresses usually wind up in the supporting category".

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"This 18-year-old New Zealander - the latest discovery of director Debra Granik, who previously brought us Jennifer Lawrence - is so good in the role that voters may just get on board."

If nominated, McKenzie will follow in the footsteps of Anna Paquin who went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the age of 11.

Paquin's win for her role as Flora McGrath in Jane Campion's The Piano, made her the second-youngest Oscar winner in history.

In Leave No Trace, McKenzie plays a girl named Tom who lives off the grid with her father in a Portland park.

Thomasin McKenzie and Ben Foster star in Leave No Trace. Photo / Supplied
Thomasin McKenzie and Ben Foster star in Leave No Trace. Photo / Supplied

After the pair are picked up by authorities Tom begins to look at her upbringing in a different light as she comes to understand her father's PTSD.

The role saw her tipped as "the next Jennifer Lawrence" and her performance was met with rave reviews by critics around the globe.

The Independent predicted McKenzie would have "an equally successful career" as Hollywood superstar Lawrence.

"As the daughter, McKenzie shows intelligence, steeliness and a maturity that belies her age."

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The Washington Post said she delivered "a startlingly confident performance".

The Guardian labelled her performance "pitch perfect".

The young Kiwi "combines the astonishing technical skills of a young Jennifer Lawrence with the wide-eyes naturalism of David (Dai) Bradley in Kes".

"Watching Leave No Trace, we feel as though we are watching her grow up before our eyes; her pain, courage and compassion are tangible and real."

McKenzie could be up against some strong contenders. Feinberg is tipping Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite), Claire Foy (First Man) and Marina de Tavira (Roma) as the frontrunners for nomination in the supporting actress category.

If the director, publicists and distributors of Leave No Trace put her forward for the best actress category, Feinbreg predicts she could be up against the likes of Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star is Born), Julia Roberts (Ben is Back), and Yalitza Aparicio (Roma).

The first hint of what may be will come on December 7 when the Hollywood Foreign Press reveals the shortlist for the Golden Globes in the first big nomination announcement of the awards season.