When Quvenzhané Wallis delivered a searing and poignant portrayal of a young girl trying to survive on the land in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Beasts of the Southern Wild, she was on her way to become the youngest Best Actress nominee in Hollywood history.
In the announcement of the 85th annual Academy Awards this morning, the Louisiana-born Wallis, 9, was nominee for Best Actress. Wallis was just 5 when she auditioned for the role in Beasts of the Southern Wild, and her performances has garnered near-universal critical acclaim for her portrayal of the character Hushpuppy.
She beat out former record-holder Keisha Castle-Hughes who was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in Whale Rider at age 13. Wallis is up for the Best Actress honor against Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty, Jennifer Lawrence for Siver Linings Playbook, Naomi Watts for The Impossible, and Emmanuelle Riva for Amour. In an interesting twist, at age 85, Riva is now the oldest nominee for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Riva will turn 86 on Feb. 24 when the Academy Awards is telecast worldwide.
Since her breakout role Wallis has now been cast in the upcoming movie Twelve Years a Slave which also stars Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt, and Michael Fassbender.
Beasts of the Southern Wild was nominated for a total of four awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Benh Zeitlin, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Take a look below at the youngest Academy Award nominees ever.