As the youngest best actress winner in Oscar history, Marlee Matlin knows her record could be broken this year. But that doesn’t stop her from heaping praise on nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, whose performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild has made her Oscar's youngest best actress nominee ever.
“Her work was amazing. Very raw. Very natural, and I was mesmerized by her performance,” Matlin said of Wallis.
“In my eyes you’re a winner,” she told Wallis, saying she is already in the record books just by being a nominee. Asked what Matlin meant to her, Wallis said she’s a “fun person.”
Wallis said if she were to win, she'd thank God, the people who gave her the opportunity to be in the film and those who came before her.
That makes her more prepared than Matlin was, when she won for her performance in 1986’s Children of a Lesser God. It was her first movie and her first time attending the Oscars ceremony. She had no speech prepared but thinks she did a decent job of remembering everyone she needed to thank. “It was really very surreal," she recalled.
“I was 21 years old. I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “I remember very clearly that my heart was beating out of my chest.”