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Beasts of the Southern Wild Receives Four Oscar Nods
Beasts of the Southern Wild director and New Orleans resident Benh Zeitlin has swept the independent awards circuit, but today’s news about the film’s Oscar nominations bumps Zeitlin and his cast into a new category. The Academy seems to have been as impressed as Sundance and Cannes, and Beasts and the movie's cast are up for a number of statues, including Best Picture.
Zeitlin is also up for Best Director, and nine-yer-old Quvenzhane Wallis is up for Best Actress, making her the youngest female player ever to score a nod. Lucy Alibar and Zeitlin co-wrote the film, and they are up for Best Adapted Screenplay.
For those who ignored the hype, Beasts takes viewers into a fictional land called “The Bathtub,” named for its lack of levee protection. When a flood comes, stubborn residents remain in their homes, devoted to their unique way of life. Obvious parallels to South Louisiana aside, the film is a mythical journey with characters as complicated and beautiful as the swampland they inhabit.
One of the most impressive aspects of Beasts was its cast. Although most of the actors weren’t established, they all performed with a sincerity that often takes years of training to cultivate. Zeitlin isn’t a native, but he seemed to have made a point to cast them in his film.
Dwight Henry (owner of Buttermilk Drop) played “Wink,” the harsh yet endearing father of Hushpuppy, played by Houma native Wallis. Although she was only six during filming, Wallis proved herself as a mature, multi-faceted actress in her role as the fierce yet delicate Hushpuppy. Hopefully, Zeitlin remains in Louisiana and keeps putting local talents on the silver screen.
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B. E. Mintz
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