All Articles Tagged "quvenzhané wallis"

“I Don’t Vote For Anyone’s Name I Can’t Pronounce”: Anonymous Oscar Voter Unleashes About Quvenzhane Wallis

February 24th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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Theo Wargo/Getty Images for IFP

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for IFP


As we know, the Oscars are tonight and 9 year old Quvenzhane Wallis is nominated for Best Actress in her role as Hushpuppy in Beats of the Southern Wild. She is the youngest nominee in the category and regardless if she wins or not, Quvenzhane has certainly been the belle of the ball to this point.

But, here we go. Someone is finally showing their cards.

Well, sort of.

The Hollywood Reporter spoke with an anonymous Oscar voter who gave a very honest opinion on just about every category but was particularly blunt when it came to categories regarding actual talent. But when he got to the Best Actress role, instead of being professional in regards to his opinion of Wallis’ performance, he began by taken the low road:

“…I also don’t vote for anyone whose name I can’t pronounce. Quvez—? Quzen—? Quyzenay? Her parents really put her in a hole by giving her that name — Alphabet Wallis. The truth is, it’s a very sweet but immature performance from a 9-year-old. I’ve directed children. They probably did a thousand takes and put the best ones together.”

Now, many people have made fun of Wallis’ first name and even those who haven’t have had a hard time pronouncing it. However, that has not stopped people from being objective – and respectful – when it comes to her work.  This anonymous voter and director, though honest, sounds like he’s been stuck in his ways for many years and could possibly miss out on rewarding a young lady who has potential to be a megastar.

Here’s the even bigger question: Do you think he’s the only one who matters in the voting process who feels this way?  Much like we talk about everyday people – black people, in particular – who have unique names and may be weeded out when it comes to job searches, could Wallis be treated the same way?

What do you think about this?

Saluting the Stars: Oprah To Be Honored At Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon

February 21st, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Oprah on the red carpet for the "Life Is But a Dream" premiere. Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Oprah on the red carpet for the “Life Is But a Dream” premiere. Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Every year Essence magazine honors some of Hollywood’s most influential African-American women in television and film. The sixth annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon will take place today as part of Oscar Week.

According to Essence,  Oprah Winfrey will be honored  with the Power Award; Alfre Woodard will be given the Vanguard Award; Gabrielle Union will receive the Fierce and Fearless Award; and Mara Brock-Akil will be celebrated with the Visionary Award. Newcomer and 2013 Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis will also be honored with the Breakthrough Performance Award during the star-studded lunheon.

This year, Essence has partnered with Lincoln, making the 2013 MKZ the official vehicle for the event. Writer, producer and creator Mara Brock Akil and James Bond ‘s latest “Bond Girl,” Naomie Harris, will arrive to the event in the MKZ.

Akil’s company, Happy Camper Productions, partnered with Kelsey Grammer ‘s Gramnet Productions and CBS Paramount to create the groundbreaking series Girlfriends. In 2012, she produced Sparkle and is now preparing to debut her new show Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union.

Lincoln will present Harris, who starred in the last Bond installment, Skyfall, with the Lincoln Shining Star Award. Harris will star in the upcoming Nelson Mandela biopic, Long Walk to Freedom opposite Idris Elba .

Is Quvenzhane Wallis Too Young For An Academy Award?

February 13th, 2013 - By madamenoire
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From The Grio

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Beasts of the Southern Wild” star Quvenzhane Wallis is an actress of talent, poise and maturity well beyond her years.

She was only 5 years old when she auditioned and 6 when she played the part of Hushpuppy, a little girl of fierce strength and resourcefulness living with her daddy in a squalid slab of Louisiana swampland known as The Bathtub. She was just a regular kid from nearby Houma, La. — she’d never even acted before, and actually pretended to be a year older than she was to be considered.

Now, at only 9, Quvenzhane (Kuh-VAHN-zuh-nay) is the youngest-ever actress nominee at the Academy Awards. Altogether, “Beasts” has four nominations at the Feb. 24 ceremony, including best picture.

While her presence is undeniable, Quvenzhane’s nomination raises the question: How young is too young to compete for an Oscar, the film industry’s highest honor, which has eluded performers with decades more experience and acclaim? Is a child really capable of acting, with craft, or do these performances reflect uncanny instinct?

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On Her Way: Quvenzhane Wallis To Visit White House Tomorrow

February 12th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Theo Wargo/Getty Images for IFP

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for IFP

The honors keep rolling in for little Quvenzhane Wallis. Tomorrow, the 9-year old, Oscar nominated actress will attend an interactive Black History Month workshop at the White House. Among the attendees are the first lady, Michelle Obama, the cast and crew of Beasts of the Southern Wild and 80 middle and high school students from Louisiana and Washington D.C.

Members of the Beasts of the Southern Wild family will discuss their experiences making the film and how the inspirational messages in the movie can be applied to their everyday lives.

We can dig it!

In addition to visiting the White House Wallis will also attend Essence’s Women In Hollywood luncheon before the Oscars are awarded on February 24.

Quvenzhané Wallis Talks With TIME About Working On “Beasts,” And Why She Was And Wasn’t Surprised By Her Oscar Nomination

February 8th, 2013 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Paola Kudacki for TIME

Paola Kudacki for TIME

As part of their annual tribute to Oscar-nominated actors and actresses and the performances that got them such a major accolade, TIME took portraits and video footage of 11 of the nominees being themselves–not their popular characters. In between seasoned actors and legends is Quvenzhané Wallis, the youngest best actress nominee ever. With her curly hair in a halo around her head and a bowtie on, the 9-year-old sat down to discuss her time working on Beasts of the Southern Wild, helping to pick her co-star, Dwight Henry (who would go on to play her father), probably because he brought her some of his famous bakery sweets, dealing with mosquitoes and more. Outside of the camera, Wallis was asked how she felt about her nomination, and in response, she says, “I wasn’t surprised on the outside, but I was on the inside.” We get it girl, always play it cool for the fans, but I’m sure she went bananas when she had a moment to herself. Check out the indelibly cute star and let us know below what you thought of her interview. Enjoy!

Already A Winner: Quvenzhané Wallis Does Entertainment Weekly And Talks Being A Triple Threat

January 25th, 2013 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Suit and tie swag! 2013 is the year of Quvenzhané Wallis, the youngest Oscar nominee ever (at just a wee nine years old), and to kick off the Oscar race right, the star of Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of three actors to get a cover panel in the magazine’s new Oscar issue. She’s in good company, smiling amongst legendary actors like Daniel Day-Lewis and new “It” girls like Jessica Chastain. Wallis was on her cover panel wearing a suit and tie, and inside the magazine she looked absolutely adorable in a floor-length halter gown and top hat. Too cute for school.

Wallis also had the chance to sit down with Ann Curry (yes Ann is still making moves, no need to shed any more tears for her) on the news program Rock Center to discuss her favorite music, how she felt when she got the call that she would be nominated for an Academy Award , as well as her future. The cutest part of the interview is definitely at the end when Wallis talks about her love for Demi Lovato, Beyoncé, and Justin Bieber and sings “Boyfriend” for Curry. Because Wallis’ singing skills wound up being pretty strong for a nine-year-old, Curry told her that she is a triple threat. And when asking if Wallis knew what that meant, she replied, “That means you do three things and try to do it at once. Like a 3-in-1 shampoo. Yup, I’m a 3-in-1. Triple threat!”

If you can’t get enough of this cutie, pick up the Oscar issue of Entertainment Weekly which is on stands now, and feel free to check out her full interview with Ann Curry and Wallis’ Beasts of the Southern Wild co-star, Dwight Henry down below.


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“Beast It!”: A Little Film’s Big Success Teaches Us About Pursuing Our Own Dreams

January 17th, 2013 - By C. Cleveland
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Rex Features via AP Images

Rex Features via AP Images

This year’s Oscar nominations feature a diverse showing of nominees compared to the whitewash of years past. One of the most interesting stories of the award season is a small film’s journey to becoming the most unlikely of Oscar juggernauts. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” grabbed four Oscar nods – including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress for Quvenzhané Wallis.

The indie film’s micro budget wasn’t the only thing that made its success at film festivals and the industry’s top award show a pleasant surprise. A collective of artists and filmmakers produced and built its sets by hand with found artifacts around the Louisiana coastline. The film’s stars, including Wallis, who was six years old at the time of shooting, are all first-time actors.

For first-time feature filmmaker Benh Zeitlin, Beasts is a passion project that paid off big time.

The Problem With Pursuing Profits

Americans’ devotion to capitalism has allowed them to buy into the belief that success means making money. Many start projects with the sole motivation of generating profits. But, research shows this approach is a mistake.

In his popular TED talk, “The puzzle of motivation,” career analyst Dan Pink presents evidence that pursuing monetary rewards dulls thinking and blocks creativity. Monetary rewards work best for straightforward problems that require a narrow focus. But today’s business world, where most problems require creative thinking, demands a different type of motivation.

“The new operating system of our business revolves around three elements: autonomy, mastery, and purpose,” Pink says. “Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives. Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters. Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.”

Changing Your View of Success

Somewhere along the way we changed the definition of success. We associate it with larges amounts of wealth or a high level of fame. In reality, success is simply accomplishing what you set out to do.

Zeitlin set out to explore how the old folk tales and myths he grew up reading intersected with modern life. He tells the New York Times that his goal in making Beasts was to capture emotional facts that hurricane damage alone doesn’t convey. “What is the feeling of going through this loss of a place or of a parent or of a culture?” he asked. “How does that feel, and how do you respond emotionally to survive that?”

The result was a haunting film that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. It is different from anything else in the theaters. Imagine how his final product would have looked if he set out to make commercial film about land loss following a hurricane.

Success is a Side Effect of Creativity

The uniqueness of Beasts has critics heralding it as the best picture to come out of the film festival circuit in decades, and President Obama dubbing it his favorite film of 2012.

This supports Dan Pink’s theory that if you remove money as the incentive, you give your brain permission to think outside the box. Relieving yourself of the pressure to be profitable gives you the freedom to create unique solutions that grab attention, and generate income.

That’s not to say you should ignore monetary issues like budgeting constraints. Businesses survive off making more than they spend. The lesson here is that it is a mistake to make money your sole motivator. Working toward something bigger than monetary gains makes it much easier to be successful.

C. Cleveland is a freelance writer and content strategist in New York City, perfecting living the fierce life at The Red Read. She is at your service on Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).

Cute Video Of The Day: Quvenzhané Wallis Sits With André Leon Talley, Speaks On Fashion, Her Homework, And Sings Frank Ocean

January 14th, 2013 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Quvenzhane Wallis

It’s clear to see that Quvenzhané Wallis is sitting on top of the world. The adorable nine-year-old had the chance to meet and sit with the enigmatic yet lovable editor-at-large for Vogue, André Leon Talley. During their sit-down, she talked about her love of music, how “fashion is her kryptonite,” her fondness for partying with the Hollywood elite and reminds us of the sheer sadness one experiences when they accidentally forget to do their homework. This was all part of Talley’s famous “Mondays with Andre” interview series.

Full of dramatic movements and a whole lot of cuteness, the Hollywood starlet named some of her favorite musicians (Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Demi Lovato, etc.), and when asked how she found the time to listen to all these big celebrities, Wallis hilariously realized that she forgot to do her homework for the day. Other cute highlights of the interview include her talking about her love for going to Hollywood parties, especially ones thrown in her honor, the pink electric scooter she received for Christmas, the two dogs she’s received since she started and finished working on Beasts of  the Southern Wild (and how they don’t get along) and why she won’t be rocking a long gown on the Academy Award’s red carpet like everyone else (she’s afraid she might trip and embarrass herself). At only a little over two minutes, there’s a lot of funny and cute things happening in Wallis’ interview (including her dancing to Rihanna and singing Frank Ocean at the end), so you should definitely check it out since everything this little lady touches is golden. I’m really looking forward to seeing her on the red carpet, as well as in more big movies, because she can act like nobody’s business. Enjoy!

Celebration! “Beasts of The Southern Wild” Star Quvenzhané Wallis Is Youngest Best Actress Oscar Nominee Ever At 9

January 10th, 2013 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Theo Wargo/Getty Images for IFP

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for IFP

While you were sleeping, Academy Award nominations were being announced this morning (and we’re talking EARLY since it’s still early as I type this), and out of all the nominees, snubs and surprises, the nomination that has us most excited is the one little Quvenzhané Wallis received for her role in the movie, Beasts of the Southern Wild. She is up for the Best Actress Oscar, pitting her against seasoned actresses and “It girls” like Jennifer Lawrence, Naomi Watts and Jessica Chastain (ya’ll remember her as the lovable ditzy wife from The Help?). Wallis is now the youngest woman–er, young lady, to be nominated in the Best Actress category ever, at just nine years old. What in the hell was I doing at nine???

If you missed out on Beasts of the Southern Wild, an extraordinarily touching piece of work, Wallis plays six-year-old Hushpuppy, an optimistic and independent child thanks to her father, Wink, a single dad who teaches her how to be able to fend for herself. So much so that he can come off kind of cruel. It also helps that teachers at her school teach the local children how to prepare for the arrival of a prehistoric creature called an Auroch, which plays a big part in the movie. After a storm hits and the life around her starts to crumble, Hushpuppy is forced to put everything she’s taught to good use and goes in search of her long-lost mother, who she pined for in a majority of the movie.

I’m so happy to see not only this little girl, but this movie receive its just dues from the Academy. I was shocked to find that the Golden Globes and other big awards shows didn’t nominate Wallis, the director, Behn Zeitlin, or the movie as a whole, so I was expecting a big snub like Pariah received last year. But someone must have wised up because Wallis will be sitting pretty on Oscar night, as well as Zeitlin, who was nominated for Best Director and for Best Adapted Screenplay, and the movie received a Best Picture nom. Please check out this gem of a film if you can find it, because it is available on DVD. I had the opportunity to check out it sometime last year, and was blown away by this little lady, as well as by how visually emanate the film was at all times. If you didn’t know Quvenzhané’s name already, it will be stuck in your head now! Congrats!

And on a side note, congratulations are also in order for Denzel Washington once again, who has been nominated in the Best Actor category for his role in Flight, another amazing film. And Django Unchained received a Best Picture nomination (and Best Original Screenplay for Quentin Tarantino), though Christoph Waltz was the only actor from the film nominated. I know Leo DiCaprio is somewhere fuming…Big ups to all!

Black Girl Going Places: Quvenzhané Wallis

July 24th, 2012 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: USA Today

Quite often, I’ll be engaged in some type of  small talk and someone will ask me, “So, how do you like living in New York?” My answer is usually some variant of the following. “I love it. There’s always something to see or do there.” As a child who was raised in the Midwest and went to college in the Midwest, I  always want to take full advantage of the art scene in the city. So when my friend asked me if I wanted to see this independent film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, I agreed. Sure, I hadn’t seen previews for the movie and didn’t know any of the people starring in it. But my friend mentioned something about the main characters being black.  Having lived in places where movies featuring people of color were frequently left out of the local theaters, I still jump at the chance to support black people on screen.

Once my friend eventually shared the trailer with me and I saw the adorable, seemingly bright little girl, running around sporting a dirty shirt and an unkempt afro, that was all the convincing I needed.

(Here’s the trailer below so you can see what I saw and eventually support if you feel so inclined.)

Though, I could tell from the preview that this was no ordinary little girl, Quvenzhané Wallis’ performance as “Hush Puppy” in the film blew me away. Now before you get tripped up on the name, phonetically, it’s pronounced Qua Van Jah Nay. (She told Jay Leno that the Zhané part means fairy in Swahili.) Her portrayal was convincing, charismatic, intelligent and just flat out surprising for a girl who was only 5 years old when she was selected to carry this entire movie on her back. And not just a simple, fluffy, kid movie. This film, about a strained father-daughter relationship and surviving in harsh conditions, is heavy. So today, when I stumbled across an article from Indie Wire’s Shadow and Act page, asking “What’s Next for Quvenzhané Wallis?” I had to click on it. They shared my excitement about Quvenzhané’s performance, calling her “a miniature force of nature.” They also reported that she’s going to be in another short, independent film called Boneshaker.

After reading that article I had to know a little bit more about this girl. So I googled her name and came across a video thumbnail of her holding what looked like a coffee cup. Thinking, this little girl is too much, I clicked to see what she was saying. Now, you know sometimes when you speak to children, it can either be really great like “Kids Say the Darndest Things” or virtually painful like when Arsensio interviewed the Olsen twins. I was happy to find that Quvenzhané was just as captivating off the screen as she was on. In that particular video she and interviewer spoke mostly about food as she sipped hot chocolate. Then she went on to share how she had input in selecting that actor who would who eventually play her father. She rejected one guy because she said she “just didn’t feel comfortable with him.” Well! Kids who are not only intelligent but able to verbally express their intellect and subsequent wit always astound me. I had to see more.

I stumbled across an interview where Quvenzhané was explaining how she got the role. And the story is fascinating. Even though the audition was for 6-9 year-olds, and she was only five at the time, she and her mother snuck in and the little one killed it. She told one (special) interviewer that in the audition she was fearless and active because that’s how her character was in the film.

When they called back to offer her the role, they said they were looking for “Naysie.” Her mom, who answered the phone said, “Oh, you must be looking for Quvenzhané.” Of course they didn’t recognize that name and were about to hang up. But her mother caught them just in time and told them oh she must have told you Naysie. And the rest is history. That little five year old beat out 3,500 other kids and if you see the movie you’ll understand why. As she told the interviewer, “If anybody calls Quvenzhané, I know they’re calling me. Because that’s one of a kind.”

You sure are one of a kind, girl. And trust, they’ll definitely be calling.

Watch this little one in action in the interview below. There’s a surprise, if you watch it in its entirety.

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