Quvenzhané Wallis

Her world-weary eyes and baby face belied the rich dichotomies that made then six-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis such an arresting and effective protagonist in the critically acclaimed independent film, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (2012). Born in 2004 in Houma, LA, Wallis was the youngest of four children of Venjie Wallis, Sr. and Qulyndriea Wallis, a middle school teacher. Wallis, nicknamed "Nazy," had never so much as considered acting before her audition for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," but decided to seize the opportunity to attend a casting call being held near her hometown in Terrebonne Parrish. Just five at the time of the audition, Wallis claimed she was the minimum required age of six. Writer-director Behn Zeitlin had originally written the film's protagonist, Hushpuppy, as an 11-year-old, certain that he would be unable to find an actor younger than that who could carry the film's poetic, insightful narration.