LOS ANGELES – Quvenzhané Wallis was experiencing something of an internal struggle when she found out shed been nominated for an Academy Award early Thursday.
I woke up, and (my mother) said, Youve been nominated! Youre nominated! recalls Quvenzhané (Kuh-VAHN-zuh-nay) of learning shes up for the best actress prize at the 85th annual Oscars. I was like, Oh my God! But it was on the inside. It wasnt on the outside.
At 9 years old, the Beasts of the Southern Wild star is the youngest woman – ahem – girl to ever be nominated in the category.
Quvenzhané, who hails from Houma, La., about 60 miles southeast of New Orleans, was in Los Angeles on Thursday to promote Beasts. She was just 5 years old when she first auditioned for the films lead role of Hushpuppy, a little girl struggling to survive in the southern Delta.
Admittedly, Quvenzhané has never watched an Oscar telecast. (Whenever they said you might make it to the Oscars, I was like, Whos Oscar? I dont know Oscar, she says.) When asked who she wants to meet at the star-studded ceremony, her answer is everyone from the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon – but not Nick at Nite.
When it comes to fashion, Quvenzhané is open to wearing all colors except for black by itself on the big day, and shes not interested in wearing a really long gown.
I might step on it, she explains, matter-of-factly.
Understandably, Quvenzhané isnt too aware of her competition, which includes the likes of Naomi Watts from The Impossible and Jessica Chastain from Zero Dark Thirty. She does know one of her fellow best actress nominees: Emmanuelle Riva of Amour. But thats only because she met her the day prior when the pair posed for a photo together.
Despite her young age, with a Spirit Award nomination and a few other awards now under her belt, Quvenzhané is already adapting to Hollywoods awards season madness. That doesnt mean shes prepared to just stick to acting though. Whats her ultimate goal?
Actress-dentist, she says with a toothy grin.