Quvenzhané Wallis -- who's that? Soon she'll be a household name (even if we're not quite sure how to pronounce it! hint: Kwa-von-za-nay). Yesterday, the 9-year-old star who played the darling and brave "Hushpuppy" in Beasts of the Southern Wild became the youngest nominee for best actress in the history of the Academy Awards.
The (PG-13) film -- a gritty-meets-mystical story set in New Orleans -- also scored a best picture Oscar nod. (Check out a full list of the nominess.) I haven't seen Beasts yet, but it looks amazing! Besides Quvenzhane's strong performance, how cool is it that they used real pigs (in horned, furry costumes) rather than computer animation to create the "beasts"? I really appreciate that these days.
Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with the Oscars. Loves: red carpet, good speeches, learning about great movies I haven't seen or heard of. Hates: bad, speeches, (usually) bad hosts, loooong program, and (in recent years) too many best picture nominees (in my opinion!).
But here's another thing to add to the "love" list: a 9-year-old Louisiana native -- the daughter of a teacher and a truck driver -- could be named the movie world's best actress. These "newbies" from lesser-known films and real-world backgrounds break onto the scene. I think that's really neat.
Learn more about other youngsters, such as Shirley Temple, in Oscar history. Check out our movie recommendations, and stay tuned for our list of 2013 Oscar-nominated movies for families (coming soon!).