x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Oscar-nominated child star of Beasts taking it all in stride

At 9 years old, the Beasts of the Southern Wild star is the youngest to ever be nominated in the category.

Quvenzhane Wallis experienced something of an internal struggle when she found out she'd been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress on Thursday.

"I woke up, and [my mother] said, 'You've been nominated! You're nominated!'" Wallis recalls. "I was like, 'Oh my God!' But it was on the inside. It wasn't on the outside."

At 9 years old, the Beasts of the Southern Wild star is the youngest to ever be nominated in the category.

"We were all literally losing our minds this morning and she's totally taking it in stride," said the film's director Benh Zeitlin, who is nominated in the directing and adapted screenplay categories. "It's magical. She's just poised and fearless. I saw that the first day I ever met her when she was five. To this day, she just knows who she is, and she's confident."

Quvenzhane, who hails from Houma, Louisiana, was just 5 years old when she first auditioned for the film's lead role of Hushpuppy, a little girl struggling to survive with her ailing father in the southern delta as a storm approaches.

Admittedly, Wallis has never watched an Oscar telecast. "Whenever they said you might make it to the Oscars, I was like, 'Who's Oscar? I don't know Oscar,"' she says. When asked who she wants to meet at the star-studded ceremony, she says "everyone from the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon".