When you think of the daily activities of a nine-year-old girl, what comes to mind is playing with dolls, homework and a snack, then chatting outside with neighborhood kids. In the case of young actress Quvenzhane Wallis, life is quickly becoming far more glorious. The Hollywood newcomer was just nominated for a Spirit Award for her leading role in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”.
“I actually had to learn what an Oscar was,” Quvenzhane said over a lunch of fried shrimp and crawfish at the 9-year-old’s favorite seafood restaurant in her hometown of Houma, La.
While most girls her age are vying for first place in the school spelling bee, Quvenzhane is facing the possibility of Golden Globe and Oscar buzz for her work. The fourth-grader has walked many red carpets since “Beasts” first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won a grand jury prize, and then played at the Cannes fest, where the film took the Camera d’Or prize.
She’s the kid next door at heart but her undeniable range and boastful acting ability may have you doing a double take when the young actress takes to the big screen. She’s an undeniable force whose greatest asset may quite possibly be the fact that she lacks knowledge of the ins and outs of Hollywood. She’s far from star struck which also works to her benefit as she takes it all in stride. Though she’s a featherweight in stature, she’s a heavyweight professionally and with her relaxed demeanor and approach to the industry, the sky is the limit for this young actress.
Congratulations to rising star Quvenzhane Wallis and to her parents and three siblings for their support and encouragement.
Words by Sid Powell