'Beasts of the Southern Wild' actress Quvenzhane' Wallis honored at Essence lunch

Wallis is youngest best-actress Oscar nominee

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Nine-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhane' Wallis toted a plush, dog-shaped purse with jeweled handles as she rubbed shoulders with Oprah Winfrey and Alfre Woodard.

Oscars Special Section

The star of best-picture contender "Beasts of the Southern Wild" was among the honorees Thursday at Essence magazine's sixth annual Black Women in Hollywood awards luncheon. Quvenzhane stood on a step so she could speak at the podium, and thanked God, "Beasts" director Behn Zeitlin and her "baby sitter that was on set."

Quvenzhane is the youngest best-actress nominee in Oscar history, and one of only 10 African-Americans recognized in the category.

Actresses Gabrielle Union and Naomie Harris, and writer-director Mara Brock-Akil also were honored at the Essence event at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

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