The Academy Award nominations are in and nine-year old actress Quvenzhane Wallis has made history as the youngest ever best actress nominee. She turned in a stellar performance last year as a courageous six-year old named Hushpuppy who beats the odds in Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Born in Louisiana, Wallis auditioned for the role at the age of 5. Shooting started when she turned 6.
The news comes as a perfect endnote to Wallis’ magical year in 2012 where she attended countless festivals promoting the film and doing interviews, starting with January 2012 at the Sundance Film Festival where critics raved about the film, most notably Wallis’ role in it. In turn, the young actress seemed to thoroughly enjoy the festival circuit. At a Q&A session at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, she described her feelings about audiences tearing up at the end of the film: “I like to see people wipe their eyes when the movie’s over and I go up there. When I’m onstage, the people are crying and clapping. I like that. It shows me I did a good performance.”