At age 9, Quvenzhané Wallis became the youngest Best Actress nominee in the history of the Academy Awards. She was nominated for her role in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” In the 2012 Oscar race she was competing against Emmanuelle Riva, who at 85 was the oldest actress ever nominated in that category.
Jennifer Lawrence won.
Nonetheless, it’s impossible to ignore Quvenzhané Wallis’s amazing performance. She was just 5 when she beat 4,000 other young hopefuls for the part of Hushpuppy, a ragamuffin who lives with her father in a forgotten bayou community in the Deep South. She lied about her age to get the audition.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” will be shown this coming Monday night at Tropic Cinema as part of its tribute to Black History Month.
In this Southern Gothic fantasy, Hushpuppy and her ailing father face a terrible storm that will unleash prehistoric creatures called Aurochs from the polar ice caps. Hushpuppy must face the eventual loss of her father, questions about her mother, the destruction of the Bathtub where she lives, and the advancing threat of the Aurochs.
Don’t worry about these disparate plot elements. Simply sit back and take in the mesmerizing tale that swirls around the character played by Quvenzhané Wallis, a young black girl who has “a smile to charm fish out of the water and a scowl so fierce it can stop monsters in their tracks.”
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” was nominated for four Academy Awards in 2013 in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director (Benh Zeitlin), Best Adapted Screenplay (Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin), and Best Actress (Quvenzhané Wallis).