As ever, the Oscar nominations provided plenty of talking points after being announced earlier today (January 10, 2013), but of all the actors, directors and producers included over all of the categories, few have got so many people talking as the nomination of nine year-old Quvenzhane Wallis in the Best Leading Actress category. So who exactly is she?

Well, until the release of Beasts Of The Southern Wild no one would know at all. The Benh Zeitlin directed film (he himself is up for Best Director) has been enjoying a massive fairytale story ever since it took the Camera d’Or at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival last summer – and Wallis has been at the center of that. Playing Hushpuppy, her character was forced to go looking for her lost mother after her father became seriously ill, causing a series of extraordinary events to unfold. It was hard to believe it was her first role, and it was hard to believe it was so accomplished so young.

Wallis has since appeared on the Jay Leno Show as well as Super Soul Sunday. CBS wrote that Zeitlin auditioned her in her school, and said that he’d asked her to throw a stuffed animal at the producer she was running lines with, only to be told "It's not right to throw things at people you don't know.” The director went on to say “she was being defiant, but she was being defiant on the grounds of right and wrong. And that's who Hushpuppy is. She's this incredibly defiant warrior girl. I don't think I could have articulated that about her character until that moment in the audition." Should she win the Oscar for Best Leading Actress she will be the youngest winner ever – she’s already the youngest nominee. And if you want to see more of Wallis? She’s set to appear in Boneshaker and Twelve Years A Slave, both out this year.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild Trailer