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, at age five, lied about her age to audition for her first acting job, the starring role in Beasts of the Southern Wild, because the minimum age to be considered was six. She eventually beat out 4,000 others for the role of Hushpuppy, the 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 ability, loud scream, and the skill of burping 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 Cannes Film Festival. The film received much acclaim and praise for Wallis' outstanding performance, and it won the prestigious Caméra d'Or award for Best first Feature Film. On January 10, 2013, at age nine, Wallis became the Academy Awards' youngest nominee for Best Actress and third youngest in all categories. However, she was just six during the filming. Wallis is the first African-American child actor to earn an Oscar nomination. She is also the first person born in the 21st century to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Wallis had a role in the film 12 Years a Slave (2013), and collaborated with Sundance for the second time on a short film called Boneshaker. In 2014, she played Annie Bennett Stacks in Annie. Quvenzhané made history as the first African American to play Annie. 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, despite the film being considered a poor adaption of the classic Broadway show. In May 2014, Wallis was named the face of Armani Junior, Giorgio Armani's line for children and teens. This makes her the first major child celebrity to be the face of a luxury brand.
She was also featured in Beyoncé's 2016 short film "Lemonade", appearing in the music video "Formation". In October 2017, she released two children's books: Shai & Emmie Star in Break an Egg! (which is about friendships) and A Night Out With Mama (which is about her night at the Oscars with her mother). She followed those with two more books: Shai & Emmie Star in To the Rescue! and Shai & Emmie Star in Dancy Pants! 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 nominationsEdit
- "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.
- "34th Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Retrieved March 31, 2013.