The 2013 Oscar nominations may be lacking color again this year but they are far from lacking talent. This year’s breakthrough actress, 9-year-old newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis, has made history after becoming the youngest ever nominee for the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Beasts of the Southern Wild. The Louisiana-born leading lady’s portrayal of a 6-year-old contending with rising flood waters in the South, resulted in her current Academy Award nomination, topping actress Keisha Castle-Hughes’s record for youngest Best Actress nominee at the age of 13, for 2002’s Whale Rider.

Denzel Washington is the other African American nominee this year.

Beasts of the Southern Wild was nominated in the Best Picture category, along with Django Unchained, director Quentin Tarantino’s slave revenge tale starring Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington. While Washington is poised to walk away with another Academy Award for his leading role in Flight.

All eyes are on Wallis for the win as she goes head-to-head with Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook ), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) and Naomi Watts (The Impossible) for the coveted honor. –ruthie hawkins