“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Nominated For: Best Picture, Best Actress (Quvenzhané Wallis), Best Director (Benh Zeitlin), Best Adapted Screenplay (Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar)

What’s It About? The pint-sized Wallis carries the film on her back as Hushpuppy, a young 6-year-old girl living with her father (named Wink) in an impoverished Delta community known as “the Bathtub.” The residents are preparing for a great storm in their own steadfast way, just as Wink’s failing health begins to worsen. As Hushpuppy searches to find her missing mother, her mind is also wracked with the looming threat of the Auruchs, mythological beasts that were frozen in the Arctic, but are now free and thunderously charging toward the Bathtub, thanks to the melted ice caps.

Why You Should See It: It’s a totally unique film that came out of nowhere. Wallis has made history as the youngest nominee ever for Best Actress (she’s 9), so if nothing else you should see what all the news is about. She’s not a novelty however; Wallis brings an unrestrained, genuine child’s reaction to the events of “Beasts” and you can’t help but be entertained by her charisma.

Most of the cast is rounded out by local amateurs including her father, played by local New Orleans baker Dwight Henry, and they bring a charm and a real-ness that can only be achieved by knowing the lay of the land.

As for the story, it has left people asking “What does it mean?” It’s easy to see the film as a lyrical metaphor for the resiliency of the New Orleans community in the wake of Hurricane Katrina — but the film is not overtly about that. Maybe the Auruchs represent the threat of climate change coming to wipe out the way we do things. Maybe citizens from the East Coast who have been hit hard by Hurricane Sandy can now relate better to the idea of living in a struggling community with few shared resources and the feeling that you can only depend on the people around you. Or maybe it’s just a modern folk tale about people undergoing great challenges, and growing and learning from the experience. “Beasts” can be whatever you want to get out of the movie.

It’s Kind of Like: “Tree of Life” meets the documentary “When the Levees Broke”

How You Can See It: “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

It is also being re-released in select theaters across the country, starting on Friday, January 18. Check for listings.

  • Best Picture

    “Django Unchained”

  • Best Picture

    “Life of Pi”

  • Best Picture

    “Lincoln”

  • Best Picture

    “Argo”

  • Best Picture

    “Zero Dark Thirty”

  • Best Picture

    “Silver Linings Playbook”

  • Best Picture

    “Les Miserables”

  • Best Picture

    “Beasts of the Southern Wilde”

  • Best Picture

    “Amour”

  • Best Actor

    Daniel Day-Lewis for “Lincoln.”

  • Best Actor

    Denzel Washington for “Flight.”

  • Best Actor

    Joaquin Phoenix for “The Master.”

  • Best Actor

    Hugh Jackman for “Les Miserables”

  • Best Actor

    Bradley Cooper for “Silver Linings Playbook.”

  • Quvenzhane Wallis

    Quvenzhane Wallis for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

  • Best Actress

    Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty.”

  • Best Actress

    Naomi Watts for “The Impossible.”

  • Best Actress

    Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour”

  • Best Actress

    Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook”

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln.”

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Robert De Niro for “Silver Linings Playbook”

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Christoph Waltz for “Django Unchained.”

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman for “The Master.”

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Alan Arkin for “Argo.”

  • Best Supporting Actress

    Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables.”

  • Best Supporting Actress

    Amy Adams for “The Master.”

  • Best Supporting Actress

    Sally Field for “Lincoln.”

  • Best Supporting Actress

    Jacki Weaver for “Silver Linings Playbook”

  • Best Supporting Actress

    Helen Hunt for “The Sessions.”

  • Best Director

    Ang Lee for “Life of Pi.”

  • Best Director

    David O. Russell for “Silver Linings Playbook”

  • Best Director

    Benh Zeitlin for “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

  • Best Director

    Michael Haneke for “Amour”

  • Best Director

    Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln.”

  • Best Animated Feature

    “Brave”

  • Best Animated Feature

    “Frankenweenie”

  • Best Animated Feature

    “Paranorman”

  • Best Animated Feature

    “The Pirates! Band of Misfits”

  • Best Animated Feature

    “Wreck-It Ralph”

  • Best Original Screenplay

    “Zero Dark Thirty”

  • Best Original Screenplay

    “Amour”

  • Best Original Screenplay

    “Flight”

  • Best Original Screenplay

    “Moonrise Kingdom”

  • Best Original Screenplay

    “Django Unchained”

  • Best Adapted Screenplay

    “Lincoln”

  • Best Adapted Screenplay

    “Life of Pi”

  • Best Adapted Screenplay

    “Argo”

  • Best Adapted Screenplay

    “Silver Linings Playbook”

  • Best Adapted Screenplay

    “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

  • Best Original Song

    Adele (“Skyfall” for “Skyfall”)

  • Best Original Song

    Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane

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