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In a major surprise, a nine year old African-American girl from Houma Louisiana was nominated today for an Academy Award. Quvenzhane Wallis, age 9, was nominated for Best Actress for her performance in the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild.

She is the youngest actress ever to be nominated for an Oscar. In the movie Wallis plays plays Hushpuppy, an imaginative young girl living with her father in an isolated Louisiana swampland. She was chosen out of hundreds of potential actresses to perform in the movie. Beasts of the Southern Wild was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The movie is set in an isolated Louisiana swampland known as the Bathtub. Young Hushpuppy (Wallis) and her father are part of a community that lives outside of the structure of modern society. When rising flood waters threaten the area, the young girl’s resourcefulness and lively imagination are called into play as the region’s residents face the approaching disaster. The movie won top honors at both the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals.

Check out the movie’s trailer.

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