The Academy Awards
7:55 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Quvenzhané Wallis on Being From Louisiana, Being Hushpuppy

The 85th Academy Awards are this coming Sunday, and Louisiana is very well represented in terms of movies filmed in the Bayou State as well as actors with roots here.

Quvenzhané Wallis as the lead character, Hushpuppy, in "Beasts of the Southern Wild".
Quvenzhané Wallis as the lead character, Hushpuppy, in "Beasts of the Southern Wild".
Credit Fox Searchlight Pictures

Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was shot in the Terrebonne Parish town of Montegut, has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay Adaptation.

At 9, Houma native Quvenzhané Wallis is the youngest nominee ever for Best Actress for her lead role in the film. In the film, Wallis plays Hushpuppy - a rambunctious child who must overcome a great deal of adversity when her world falls apart.


WESTERMAN: Quvenzhané, you’re from here in Louisiana. I’m in Louisiana. I’m in Baton Rouge. Is your whole family from Louisiana?

WALLIS: Kind of. My Mom’s from Zachary, though.

WESTERMAN: And where’s your dad from?

WALLIS: Houma.

WESTERMAN: Do you spend a lot of time here?

WALLIS: Um, yes.

WESTERMAN: Okay, what are some of your favorite things to do when you’re home in Louisiana?

WALLIS: Eat seafood.

WESTERMAN: What’s your favorite kind of seafood? It is crawfish season.

WALLIS: Crawfish, crabs and shrimp.

Quvenzhané Wallis is the all-time youngest nominee for Best Actress for her lead role as Hushpuppy.
Quvenzhané Wallis is the all-time youngest nominee for Best Actress for her lead role as Hushpuppy.
Credit Jess Pinkham

WESTERMAN: Now, Beasts of the Southern Wild, that was filmed here in Louisiana; in Terrebonne Parish. Had you ever been to that town before you started filming there?

WALLIS: Yes, because my father fishes in some of the parts.

WESTERMAN: Okay, so what was it like to film that movie in that place that you had been?

WALLIS: Exciting, it was something that I liked and stuff so, I like living there.

WESTERMAN: You had a lot of fun trampling around in the mud and such?

WALLIS: No.

WESTERMAN: No, you didn’t? That’s something else I wanted to ask you. Hushpuppy, the character in the movie, she’s kind of a tomboy but, Quvenzhané, all the pictures I see of you on the Internet and in the newspaper, you’re all dolled up. You’re always wearing dresses and you look so pretty. So, how much are you like Hushpuppy in real life?

WALLIS: Not in many ways but I’m in a few ways.

WESTERMAN: Okay, can you tell me how you are in a few ways?

WALLIS: We both like nature, we both have pets we both, like, do a lot of things. Stuff like that.

WESTERMAN: Do you think Hushpuppy would ever wear any of the dresses I’ve seen you wear?

WALLIS: No.

WESTERMAN: No, you don’t think so? And so, Quvenzhané Wallis, how does it feel to be the youngest person ever nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars?

WALLIS: Exciting.

WESTERMAN: What kinds of things have you been doing since the movie came out? It looks like you have a pretty exciting life.

WALLIS: Yes. All I have been doing is like going to Los Angeles and New York pretty much.

WESTERMAN: Okay, what is your favorite thing that you have done since the movie came out with all of your traveling?

WALLIS: Going to, like, water places and stuff.

WESTERMAN: What do you mean?

WALLIS: Like going to, like, Universal Studios or [Disney's] A.N.T Farm or like something like that.

WESTERMAN: What do you have planned next?

WALLIS: Nothing. All I have is Boneshaker and Twelve Years A Slave but I already have those filmed.

WESTERMAN: So Beasts of the Southern Wild was your very first movie. In the future, in your career, what kind of characters do you want to play?

WALLIS: All of them. Because they’re all like different people that I get to turn in to.