Quvenzhane Wallis portraying Hushpuppy in a scene from, Because she doesn't talk about her "craft". She doesn't use the word "instrument" as a metaphor for her body. She doesn't tattoo Marilyn Monroe on her forearm as an homage, and she definitely doesn't talk about "convincing" the director to let her audition for her celebrated role in "Beasts of the Southern Wild."
You know how actresses love to talk about their instincts? 9-years-old Quvenzhane Wallis, now the youngest Best Actress nominee ever, doesn't talk, she does. The little girl from a small town in Louisiana who helped turn a micro-budget film by a first time director into an Oscar nominee sweeper has no prior experience in Hollywood, film or acting in general. When the 85th Annual Oscar nominations were announced Thursday morning (see the full list here), somewhere sandwiched somewhere between the names Abe Lincoln and Anne Hathaway was the name Quvenzhane (nickname "Nazie") Wallis. Here's why:
-Because never took an acting class before: Wallis isn't a child actress in the classic sense. She wasn't coached or stage mom-aged. She doesn't in live in Los Angeles. She's based in Houma, Louisiana where she lives with her older brother and sisters, and made honor roll in her fourth grade class.
-Because wasn't trying to look younger: Her mom heard about an open casting call for kids ages 6 to 9 near their home. Wallis was 5 but she auditioned for the movie anyway.
-Because she likes pretending with her mom: "I was like one year younger so we just sneaked in and we walked out like we ain't done nothin,'" she said of her audition which took place at her town library.
-Because she wouldn't do anything the director asked, just to get the part: During the audition she was told to throw a stuffed animal at a producer, and she refused because, she said, "that's not right." Not long after that, she was chosen out of 4,000 other kids by first time director and fellow Oscar nominee Benh Zeitlin to play Hushpuppy, a motherless child in a post-apocalyptic Bayou dreamscape.
-Because she was 6 when she filmed the movie.
-Because she claimed what got her through grueling shooting days was an occasional "pizza party!"
-Because she reverently describes her director as: "kinda funny, and he was fun to play with."
-Because she didn't take his sh-t: ""I didn't like when the director said, 'One more time!' When he said it, he actually meant about five more times!"
-Because she describes her character Hushpuppy without the boring old emotional jargon: "She doesn't wear any pants, her hair is puffy," she told CBS in an interview.
- Because her director says: "It was like you could put the camera on her face, and you just see this whole world that she has inside of her that's so beyond her years. she calls the Oscar 'the golden man'.
-Because when he asked what Wallis would do if she caused the end of world she replied: "I would do whatever I can to fix what I broke. I would always listen to my parents. I would brush my teeth."
-Because if she wins the Oscar next month, she'll have one up on her Brad Pitt, her co-star in the upcoming movie "Twelve Years of a Slave."
-Because she calls the Oscar the 'golden man.'
-Because while her fellow Best Actress nominees will probably wear Dior and McQueen on the red carpet, Wallis is expected to wear "Poochie." That's not a misspelling. It's the name of the stuffed toy dog purse she wears on her arm at every awards show.
Child Oscar nominees
Last year's lady Oscar nods
Watch the nominations announced here