La. girl youngest Best Actress nominee ever

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. Quvenzhané Wallis in Show caption
Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

Quvenzhané Wallis, a Houma resident and star of the critically acclaimed film “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” has just become the youngest Academy Award nominee ever for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Other nominees include Naomi Watts for “The Impossible,” Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook,” Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty” and Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour.” Ironically, Riva, at age 85, is also the oldest actress to be nominated for this category.

Wallis was only five years old when she auditioned for the role of Hushpuppy and played opposite Dwight Henry, a first-time actor from New Orleans. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” has gone on to win numerous awards including the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the 28th Sundance Film Festival and the Best Feature Film at the 65th Cannes Film Festival. The film was also nominated for three other Academy Awards — Best Picture, Best Director (Benh Zeitlin), and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Wallis’ next film is “Twelve Years a Slave,” a story about a New York man in the mid-1800s who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, and Paul Giamatti. Henry will also have a prominent role. “Twelve Years a Slave” is directed by British director Steve McQueen and set for release later this year.