The Oscars don't have an award for 'Breakthrough Artists' unlike many other awards' ceremonies, but in many respects that makes Quvenzhané Wallis's nomination for Best Actress that much more important and laudatory. She's the youngest person ever to be nominated for the award, though she's 9 now, she was just 5 (and had to lie about her age) when she auditioned for the role of Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild. But, when she's up against current Hollywood beau Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain, as well as French icon Emmanuelle Riva, what are her chances of winning?
We would really love to say that her chances are really, really good, but that's only because we'd give her the award right now. She's such a wild card, however, that there's very little to compare her nomination against. "We were trying to find any film that had been led by a 6-year-old," Benh Zeitlin, Beasts director said of Wallis, "so maybe it was madness or being naïve, but we had a faith that the story was going to find its way, that we could will miracles into existence, so we just searched and searched, and we found her." She truly has been a bit of a miracle, so perhaps her blessings can continue far enough for her to win that award.
At such a young age there may be fears that she'd simply be a one hit wonder, but she has already been snapped up by a much bigger production than Beasts, Steve McQueen's next project Twelve Years A Slave.
Along with Wallis' nomination, it's a year of polars as included in the same group is seasoned French actress Emmanuelle Riva who is the oldest woman to ever be nominated for the award at the age of 85, for her role in Austrian film Amour. Ageism often comes into play in the film industry, which is constantly criticized for having a distinct penchant for young, attractive and skinny women. While the other three nominees all fulfill those requirements, having Riva and Wallis to even be included is a wonderful step forward and we wish them both all the best.
Take a look at Wallis in the Beasts of the Southern Wild trailer, right here: