First lady to host little Oscar nominee at White House
05:00 AM, Feb 11, 2013
The Academy Awards voting doesn’t close until next week but one little actress nominee, 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, could get a boost from an appearance at the White House this week with first lady Michelle Obama and others from the cast and crew of Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Mrs. Obama’s office announced today that Wallis, nominated for best actress for her role as Hushpuppy in the magical-realism movie of the year, will be at the White House on Wednesday morning to participate in an interactive student workshop to mark Black History month.
Some 80 middle-school and high-school students from Washington, D.C., and New Orleans have been invited to hear Wallis and others in the cast and crew talk about their experiences making the movie. Set in a Louisiana bayou, it tells the story of a 6-year-old girl learning how to be brave and loving as her father fades and melting ice caps flood her ramshackle community, unleashing mysterious ancient beasts.
The workshop in the State Dining Room will explore the inspirational themes of the film that students can apply to their own lives, the White House said.
Wallis was an unknown grade-school student in Houma, La., when she auditioned for the movie by young director Benh Zeitlin and won the role. Now she’s the youngest Oscar nominee in history, up against competition that includes grown-up actresses such as Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts.
Zeitlin also is nominated, for best director, and the film is one of nine best-picture nominees.
Wallis has been charming her way down red carpets and onto chat-show couches for months in promoting the movie. She’s set to be honored at Essence Magazine’s annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon just a few days before the Oscars are awarded on Feb. 24.