Who2 now has a new biography of Quvenzhané Wallis, the youngest person ever to be nominated for an Oscar as a leading actress. We even tell you how to pronounce her name.
It’s pronounced “wall-is,” almost as if it were spelled “wallace.” And her first name is pronounced “kwa-VEN-zha-nay.” Quvenzhané Wallis was only a few months past her ninth birthday when she was nominated for an Oscar for playing Hushpuppy in Benh Zeitlin‘s film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Zeitlin was casting Louisiana locals for his film when Wallis auditioned. Wallis found out about the audition through a friend of her mother’s. The casting call was for children between the ages of 6 and 9, but Quvenzhané was only 5 at the time. She went anyway.
Barely able to read, she learned her lines (and changed some of them) and, at the age of 6, shot a feature film in which she’s in nearly every scene. It’s a good movie, and Wallis carries it, along with Dwight Henry, another non-professional actor who was a baker just up the street from Zeitlin’s production offices.
Here’s what Wallis looks like now, at the ripe old age of nine, carrying one of her signature “puppy purses”:
This youngest-ever nominee will be going up against the oldest-ever nominee, French actress Emmanuelle Riva.
Read more about Quvenzhané Wallis in the Who2 biography.