22 February 2013 9:25 AM, PST | Huffington Post | See recent Huffington Post news »

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.

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.

Standing on a step so she could speak at the podium, Quvenzhane thanked God, "Beasts" director Behn Zeitlin and "my baby sitter that was on set."

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

Winfrey was teary-eyed as she took the stage after being introduced by the graduating class of her namesake Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

"I am humbled by this day," she said. "There's nothing better than being honored by your own."

Essence President Michelle Ebanks said the afternoon's honorees "are changing »


- AP

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