10 January 2013 5:32 PM, PST | blogs.suntimes.com/ebert | See recent Roger Ebert's Blog news »

The Oscars are the most important way the American film industry can honor what it considers the year's best work. But for millions of movie lovers all over the globes, they are something else: A show.

That's why I suspected last June that Quvenzhané Wallis might win a nomination. The pride of Hounduras Elementary School in Houma, La, has now become, at nine, the youngest nominee in history for Best Actress. Her story is even better: She was five when she auditioned for the role, and six when she performed it.

What Quvenzhané provides for the Oscarcast is what every ceremony needs: A compelling human interest story on the side. Her film, "Beasts of the Southern Wild," plays the same role in the overall field. A first film, shot on location in the Louisiana Bayou , it shows us a small community surviving in poverty in the years after Hurricane Katrina, »

- Roger Ebert

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