On the morning of Oscar nomination announcements, it didn’t come as a complete surprise that “Beasts of the Southern Wild” was nominated for Best Picture. Although I was not entirely sure it would make the cut, I had a feeling that if the Best Picture nominations went to 9 or 10, that it would make it and it did. With all the press and critics awards this film raked it, there was a strong possibility it would sneak into the nominations. But receiving four nominations was the kicker, one for Best Directing, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress in a Leading Role.

This was a first time film for almost everyone involved, which makes sense that it is also the first nomination for all those involved. With much stronger competitors in most of the categories its nominated in, I would not be surprised to see this film passed up for awards. But here’s the kicker, to win Best Picture a film usually has to take certain awards to do so, including Directing and Screenplay, which “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is one of four other films that has that advantage. Would I be completely blown away if this film wins? Absolutely. But you learn early on to never count anything out come Oscar night.

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Nominated Role: Quvenzhané Wallis plays Hushpuppy, an imaginative young girl living with her father in an isolated Louisiana swampland.

At nine years old, Quvenzhané Wallis is the youngest actress to ever be nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Before Quvenzhané was nominated, Keisha Castle-Hughes was the youngest, at 13 years old, in the film “Whale Rider” (2002). “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is Wallis’ first starring role ever, so to say she’s one for one would be an understatement.

However pertinent for her future career, this nomination will probably be as far as she gets this year, with this year’s Best Actress showdown hinging on Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook” and Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty”, both of which won a Golden Globe for their performances. Even though Wallis displays acting abilities far beyond her age and experience level, I cannot justify thinking the Academy would give the award to such a young, inexperienced actress when there are such better performances from this year. If Wallis wins, I will be completely thunderstruck.

Despite her chances, Quvenzhané Wallis does prove quite astounding in her role as Hushpuppy, the impoverished young daughter of a dying man in the wetlands of New Orleans. Her narration is beyond what you could fathom from a nine-year-old, and her reactions and retorts are what got her this nomination, no doubt.


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Benh Zeitlin has had a good year with his film “Beasts of the Southern Wild”. Very few directors can say that their first feature film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Academy Awards, but his film has. Having those accolades attached to the film, on top of the numerous festival and critics awards wins, including  the Caméra d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival, and the Grand Jury Prize at the Deauville American Film Festival, makes Zeitlin one of the most talked directors of the year. You cannot buy that type of press and you can bet for his next project, Zeitlin will have his pick to do whatever he wants.

But how are Zeitlin’s chances of winning this year? I would go ahead and say not good, but not for a lack of quality. Simply put, this is a tough year. But think of it this way: Zeitlin was nominated for Best Directing, which was the most talked about category of the season, seeing as veteran directors and previous winners Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables”) and Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”) were snubbed, as was favorite Ben Affleck for his film “Argo”. So being nominated in that category over those huge names is a big deal. So just being nominated should be award enough for Zeitlin.

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Adapted from a one-act play entitled “Juicy and Delicious” by Lucy Alibar, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is nominated in all the right categories to get the big wins, but its chances are pretty slim next to their competitors, especially in Best Adapted Screenplay. Now, Benh Zeitlin, who is also nominated for Best Directing, is up against Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”) and David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”), who I personally believe to be the strongest competitors for the win, but then if you look at Best Adapted Screenplay, “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings Playbook” are both nominated here as well. So, to say “Beasts of the Southern Wild” has an uphill battle to win any of these awards is putting it lightly.


Impressive on most accounts, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” makes the most of its unknown director and first time cast to create a truly grand story of ingenuity. With the young Quvenzhane Wallis carrying most of the film with her narration and young body-old soul mentality, there’s an other-worldly-ness to the entire film, shot on location around New Orleans, a place depicted as being cut off from the world, where the small community of “the Bathtub” is impoverished by a storm that puts them underwater, for the most part. Finding strength in its father-daughter connection that is more about survival than love or compassion, there are so many ideas and themes in the film, it is hard to grasp and hold onto just one. In a truly unique adventure, Benh Zeitlin’s first feature film is a success.

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Download Screenplay: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/fyc/media/film_scripts/BOTSW_FINAL_DRAFT_2.pdf

// Produced by Josh Penn, Dan Janvey, & Michael Gottwald// Directed by Benh Zeitlin // Based on “Juicy and Delicious” by
Lucy Alibar // Adapted by Benh Zeitlin & Lucy Alibar // Lead Actress: Quvenzhané Wallis //

// Dated Viewed: Sunday, January 20th, 2013 // DVD //  23 films – 36 days //


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1 Comment on “2013 Oscars Challenge: [15] Beasts Of The Southern Wild – Four Nominations

  1. Pingback: [16] Les Misérables – Eight Nominations | Oscar Challenge 2013

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