Breakouts 1999: Haley Joel Osment
The Shockingly Good (And Sometimes Just Shocking) Finds Of the Year
‘Sense’ & Sensibility
Every now and then, kids at his Los Angeles school will ask Haley Joel Osment to repeat the line that shivered their bony little spines last summer: ”Say it, Haley, say ‘I see dead people.”’ And because he’s so gosh-darn nice, the 11-year-old star of The Sixth Sense obliges. ”I never get annoyed about it,” he chirps. ”It brings back such good memories.” In a film possessed by haunting performances (including Bruce Willis’ career-reviving turn), Osment’s hushed desperation stole the show. He prepared, he says, by not preparing, ”because the problem Cole has is that he doesn’t understand what’s happening to him.” Sense director M. Night Shyamalan sums up the youngster’s preternatural intuition simply: ”child prodigy.” Osment next costars with Kevin Spacey in Pay It Forward. Until then, he’ll keep busy with homework, Nintendo, and maybe a date with Oscar. ”I think about it,” admits Osment, ”but I’m not setting my hopes on it. You just never know.” Some things you can’t have a sixth sense about.