Quvenzhane Wallis: 7 Reasons To Love The Youngest Best Actress Oscar Nominee

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Quvenzhale Wallis is the youngest nominee for a Best Actress Oscar

“In a million years, when kids go to school, they gonna know: Once there was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in the Bathtub,” Quvenzhane Wallis says at the beginning of Beasts at the Southern Wild. And now, we hope kids a million years from now will also know that once there was a Quvenzhane Wallis, and at 9 years old, she was the youngest person to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination. If you’ve seen her breathtaking performance as the fierce young girl living in the untamed swamps of Louisiana, you probably aren’t surprised by her nomination. That’s not the only reason to love her, though. Here are seven more:

1. The girl knows how to accessorize. Especially with her signature animal purses:

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2. She’s not gonna compromise on that name for your sake. It’s pronounced Kwe-VAWN-zhan-ay, by the way. Her mother, Qulyndreia, told Deadline that the name is a combination of her own name, Quvenzhane’s father’s name, Venjie, and the Swahili word for fairy.

Director Benh Zeitlin and Quvenzhane Wallis on the set.

3. She has an artistic vision, which she shared with director Benh Zeitlin when she auditioned for the part, at age 5 (a year younger than what they were looking for). After auditioning 3,500 girls for the part, she was doing a callback scene that had her throwing a water bottle at someone. “I couldn’t get her to do it,” he told EW. “So I cut the scene and said, ‘Why won’t you just throw the water bottle? and she said: ‘That’s not right. It isn’t right.’ ”

4. She told Robert Ebert she got the part because, “the character who is Hushpuppy, she does what is right and she is fearless and that’s what I did at the audition.”

5. She’s a total foodie. Here she describes how her favorite part of making the movie was eating seafood on set, how onscreen dad Dwight Henry (a baker by profession) won her over with sweets, and recommends some fine dining options in New Orleans:

6. She’s hilarious. When Ebert asked Quvenzhane what the main difference between her and Hushpuppy is, she told him “she doesn’t wear her pants pretty much.”

7. She’s not a freaky career-focused child actor yet and doesn’t know if she wants to stay in the biz. “We just stumbled upon the industry with the blessing that’s been given us,” her mom told Deadline. “She had no clue what an Oscar was. I take her, and I show her and say, ‘This is what they’re talking about.’ ”

[Photos: Fox Searchlight, Getty Images]

Related: Will Beasts Of The Southern Wild‘s Quvenzhane Wallis Join These Past Child Oscar Nominees?