Excessive use of nitrogenous fertilizers to enhance rice productivity has become a significant source of nitrogen (N) pollution and reduced sustainable agriculture. However, little information about the physiology of different growth stages, agronomic traits, and associated genetic bases of N use efficiency (NUE) are available at low-N supply. Two rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars were grown with optimum N (120 kg ha−1) and low N (60 kg ha−1) supply. Six growth stages were analyzed to measure the growth and physiological traits, as well as the differential proteomic profiles, of the rice cultivars. Cultivar Panvel outclassed Nagina 22 at low-N supply and exhibited improved growth and physiology at most of the growth stages and agronomic efficiency due to higher N uptake and utilization at low-N supply. On average, photosynthetic rate, chlorophyll content, plant biomass, leaf N content, and grain yield were decreased in cultivar Nagina 22 than Panvel was 8%, 11%, 21%, 19%, and 22%, respectively, under low-N supply. Furthermore, proteome analyses revealed that many proteins were upregulated and downregulated at the different growth stages under low-N supply. These proteins are associated with N and carbon metabolism and other physiological processes. This supports the genotypic differences in photosynthesis, N assimilation, energy stabilization, and rice-protein yield. Our study suggests that enhancing NUE at low-N supply demands distinct modifications in N metabolism and physiological assimilation. The NUE may be regulated by key identified differentially expressed proteins. These proteins might be the targets for improving crop NUE at low-N supply.