Quvenzhané Wallis (// kwə-VAN-jə-nay; born August 28, 2003) is an American actress and author. In 2012, she starred as Hushpuppy in the drama film Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, becoming the youngest actress ever to be nominated, as well as the first (and, to date, only) person born in the 21st century nominated for an acting Oscar. She also starred as Annie Bennett in the 2014 adaptation of Annie, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
|Born||August 28, 2003|
Houma, Louisiana, U.S.
In 2017, Wallis published two books, Shai & Emmie Star in Break an Egg! and A Night Out with Mama. She has since published two more books: Shai & Emmie Star in Dancy Pants! and Shai & Emmie Star in To the Rescue!.
Wallis was born in Houma, Louisiana, to Qulyndreia Wallis (née Jackson), a teacher, and Venjie Wallis, Sr., a truck driver. She has one sister, Qunyquekya, and two brothers, Vejon and Venjie, Jr. Her name "Quvenzhané" combines the first syllables of her parents' first names in "Quven", and an alteration of the Swahili word jini meaning 'sprite' or 'fairy'.
Wallis, 5, lied about her age to audition for Beasts of the Southern Wild, which had a minimum tryout age of 6. She was chosen out of 4,000 to play Hushpuppy, an indomitable child prodigy and survivalist who lives with her dying father in the backwoods bayou squalor of Louisiana. Director Benh Zeitlin told The Daily Beast that when he auditioned Wallis, he immediately realized he had discovered what he was looking for, and changed the Beasts script to accommodate her strong-willed personality. Her reading prowess, loud screaming voice, and ability to burp on command impressed the director and won her the part. Zeitlin has also stated that "it was just the feeling behind her eyes".
The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2012 to rave reviews, winning the Grand Jury Prize. In May 2012, Wallis flew to France for the premiere of the film at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Wallis's performance drew widespread acclaim and Zeitlin won the Caméra d'Or, the festival's award for best first feature film. On January 10, 2013, at age nine, Wallis was nominated for an Academy Award. Wallis, who was 6 when she filmed Beasts of the Southern Wild, is the all-time youngest nominee for Best Actress and the third-youngest nominee ever. Wallis is the first African-American child actor and the first person born in the 21st Century to earn an Oscar nomination.
Wallis had a role in the film 12 Years a Slave (2013), and collaborated with the Sundance Film Festival on a short film called Boneshaker. In 2014, she played the title character in Annie, the first African American to do so. For this, she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and received praise from most reviewers. In May 2014, Wallis became the first child celebrity to be named the face of a luxury brand when she was signed by Armani Junior, Giorgio Armani's fashion line for children and teens.
Wallis appeared in Beyoncé's 2016 music video for "Formation". In October 2017, she released two children's books: the friendship-centric Shai & Emmie Star in Break an Egg! and A Night Out With Mama, which is about her night at the Oscars with her mother. She published two more books, Shai & Emmie Star in To the Rescue! and Shai & Emmie Star in Dancy Pants!, in 2018.
She became a member of the Actors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2018.
|2012||Beasts of the Southern Wild||Hushpuppy|
|2013||12 Years a Slave||Margaret Northup|
|2014||Annie||Annie Bennett Stacks|
|2014||Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet||Almitra (voice)|
|2015||Fathers and Daughters||Lucy|
Awards and nominations
- "11 Celeb Names You're Totally Pronouncing Wrong". Seventeen. July 31, 2017. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
- "Beasts of the Southern Wild press kit" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 8, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
- "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1274). August 30, 2013. p. 20.
- Blakely, Rhys (January 10, 2013). "Youngest v oldest actress vie for Oscar as Lincoln leads the pack". The Times. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- Walker, Tim (January 10, 2013). "Quvenzhané Wallis v Emmanuelle Riva: Best actress Oscar contested by oldest and youngest ever nominees". The Independent. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- Nicholson, Amy (June 29, 2012). "Quvenzhané Conquers Hollywood: 20 Questions for the 8-year-old star of Beasts of the Southern Wild;)". Boxoffice.com. Archived from the original on April 19, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- "A Shai & Emmie Story". Retrieved December 27, 2019.
- The Deadline Team. "OSCARS Interview: Quvenzhané Wallis". Deadline. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- McKnight, Laura (May 13, 2010). "Houma girl to star in independent film". The Daily Comet. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- Ebert, Roger (June 22, 2012). "Quvenzhané. A small force of nature". Roger Ebert's Journal. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- Ward, Kate. "How to Pronounce 25 Difficult Celebrity Names". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on June 4, 2017. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
The first name of the Oscar-nominated Beasts of Southern Wild star is, fittingly, a beast. But it has a lovely backstory: "Quven" combines her parents' first names (Qulyndreia and Venjie) and "zhane" is Swahili for "fairy".
- Truitt, Brian (June 26, 2012). "Quvenzhane Wallis makes 'Southern Wild' sing". USA Today. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- Haramis, Nicholas (December 3, 2014). "There's Something About Quvenzhané Wallis". The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
- Day, Patrick Kevin (January 10, 2013). "Oscar nominations: Quvenzhane Wallis is young but not youngest ever". Los Angeles Times.
- Alexander, Bryan (January 10, 2013). "History-making Quvenzhane Wallis: 'This is special'". USA Today.
- Rottenberg, Josh (February 24, 2013). "Beasts of the Southern Wild' breakout Quvenzhané Wallis to star in new big-screen 'Annie'". EW.com.
- Annie (2014 film)#Critical reception
- Merle Ginsberg (May 22, 2014). "Quvenzhane Wallis Named Face of Armani Junior (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- Chevel Johnson (October 2, 2017). "Actress Quvenzhane Wallis taking new on a new role of author". Associated Press. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- Rebecca Sun (November 12, 2017). "Rep Sheet Roundup: WME Signs Trio of Hit Rock Bands From CAA". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
- Khatchatourian, Maane (June 25, 2018). "Academy Invites Record 928 New Members". Variety.
- "34th Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Retrieved March 31, 2013.