Quvenzhané Wallis just made history. With the announcement of the nominees for the 85th annual Academy Awards this morning, the Louisiana-born Wallis, just 9 years old, is now the youngest ever nominee for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Wallis, who was just 5 when she auditioned for the role in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” has received major recognition and critical acclaim for her portrayal of the character Hushpuppy.
She beat out former record-holder Keisha Castle-Hughes who was nominated for “Whale Rider” at age 13. Wallis is up for the Best Actress honor against Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty,” Jennifer Lawrence for “Siver Linings Playbook,” Naomi Watts for “The Impossible,” and Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour.” In an interesting twist, at age 85, Riva is now the oldest nominee for Best Actress in a Leading Role. (Riva will turn 86 on Feb. 24, which is Oscar night.)
Since her breakout role in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Wallis has now been cast in the upcoming movie “Twelve Years a Slave,” which also stars Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt, and Michael Fassbender.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” was nominated for a total of four awards. In addition to Wallis’ nod for Best Actress, “Beasts” was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director for Benh Zeitlin, and Best Adapted Screenplay.