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Quvenzhané Wallis and Benh Zeitlin react to Oscar nods

posted 10 Jan 2013, 16:06 by Mpelembe   [ updated 10 Jan 2013, 16:07 ]

Nine year old star Quvenzhané Wallis and director Benh Zeitlin react to Oscar nominations for "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIAUNITED STATES (JANUARY 10, 2013) (REUTERS) - Audiences may not be acquainted with, or even know how to pronounce Quvenzhané Wallis, but the nine year-old breakout star of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is leading a handful of new faces challenging veterans in the Oscar nominations on Thursday (January 10).

Pronounced "kwa-ven-jan-eh," Wallis became the youngest best actress nominee in the Academy's 85-year history for her debut role in "Beasts." The young star, who was dancing around the room while talking to the media following the nominations announcement, said it was an exciting morning.

"Well I was half asleep so part of my body was excited. I saw my name just scrolling down. On the inside I was excited but I was just watching it scroll. And Boom! all you hear is stuff just talking about the movie, Benh, me, producers and all that," said Wallis.

"Beasts" director Benh Zeitlin, a first-time filmmaker who premiered "Beasts" at last year's Sundance film festival, scored a spot on the list for best director. The 30 year old Zeitlin beat out heavyweights Ben AffleckKathryn BigelowTom Hooper and Quentin Tarantino for the nod.

Zeitlin said he was honored to be listed in such respected company.

"You know to be put on a stage with filmmakers that you've grown up idolizing is really special and I think the Academy saw that it was a film was coming from a really different place but which anybody can watch," said Zeitlin.

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" is a fantasy drama set in the bayou in Louisiana which follows a six-year old named Hushpuppy on the eve of an impending storm. The film, in its debut, took home the top prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. It has earned Golden Globe, Critic's Choice and Spirt Award nominations.