What to Read Next

Why older actors resent Oscar-nominated kids

Thelma Adams
Yahoo! Movies Oscars Blog
10 January 2013

Isn't it wonderful that a 9-year-old has received an Oscar nomination, becoming the youngest ever to earn that honor? Well, maybe not. I was at a Manhattan industry lunch dishing with a pair of over-40 actresses the other day, and they were less enthusiastic about the Oscar buzz surrounding Quvenzhane Wallis, age 9. The two hardworking veterans (one an Oscar winner, the other a SAG nominee) didn't want to seem to be tearing down the achievement of a lovely little girl, but … both agreed, in whispered tones, that this was more stunt than performance. Where was the craft? However wonderful the young girl was in "The Beasts of the Southern Wild," her scampering around the Louisiana bayou was not an acting achievement worthy of an Oscar.

[ Photos: All-time youngest acting nominees ]

Experienced screen actors have good reason to be a little peeved. They often struggle for years to get a break, much less Oscar recognition. As the three of us closed the circle of our discussion so as not to be overheard, I said that as charming and effervescent as Wallis is as Hushpuppy in that Southern gothic fantasy, credit director Benh Zeitlin for the performance (he got a nomination today). The actresses seemed relieved to hear me, a journalist, articulate the point that was making the rounds in their world. Save those five important best-actress slots for recognizing the major achievements of working actresses -- and let's see if Wallis will continue to perform in roles not tailored to her.

While Wallis gets credit for being the charismatic center of “Beasts” at, the role draws on her innate charm. She’s not stretching in the way that, say, Naomi Watts did in “The Impossible” or Lawrence, who was so different in “Silver Linings Playbook” from her Katniss Everdeen in “Hunger Games.”

Furthermore, Wallis’s performance relied heavily on a voiceover narration that was laid down after the shoot.

Looking back historically at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which started in 1994, child stars rarely get their nominations. A minor has never won from the actors-only group, which boosts the argument that actors know it takes years to develop the craft.

Certainly, when I compare 9-year-old Wallis's achievements with those of contenders snubbed by Oscar today -- Rachel Weisz in "Deep Blue Sea," Keira Knightley in "Anna Karenina," Marion Cotillard in "Rust and Bone," and Helen Mirren in "Hitchcock" -- I have to agree with my two actress friends. It doesn't seem fair. How could the Academy overlook these performances and raise up Wallis's? It seems mercurial at best, and downright frustrating to working actors, to fail to acknowledge the craft and bravery of these women who have put themselves out there, stripping down physically and emotionally for role after role.

When the actors sit down to vote for a winner in the best-actress category, this sentiment will color their view of Wallis -- and it's doubtful that she will win the statuette. She joins a long history of young and unknown Oscar nominees. Remember Keisha Castle-Hughes from "Whale Rider" in 2002? Others in the list include Justin Henry ("Kramer vs. Kramer"), Haley Joel Osment ("The Sixth Sense"), Quinn Cummings ("The Goodbye Girl"), and Mary Badham ("To Kill a Mockingbird").

OF course, there have been successful young nominees, like Jodie Foster, Anna Paquin, and Abigail Breslin. My Academy Award-winning source remembers asking director Lee Daniels what would happen to his "Precious" star Gabourey Sidibe after his movie. As it turns out, he needn't have been concerned. Sidibe has gone on to parts in "Tower Heist" and "Seven Psychopaths" and to a regular role in TV's "The Big C."

It makes sense that experienced actresses might be resentful, but only time will tell if Wallis is a one-hit wonder or if a star has been born.

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points. Apply for Your Card Today.

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Do NOT pay your insurance until you try this.

If you drive less than 55 miles/day OR have no DUI's you can get auto insurance for as low as $29/ Month! See if you qualify.

Stomping Out Burglary, One Home at a Time

Tech experts like CNET call it “better, smarter home security.” Cops use it in stings to catch criminals. Meet SimpliSafe.

Bring Home This Heart-Warming Disney Movie Offer!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2016

Banks are offering 0% APR for up to 15 months right now. Don't pay interest on your purchases and transfer a balance today. Apply securely here.

Bounce Back From The Holidays & Transfer A Balance

Holiday fun means holiday spending. Don't pay interest on your purchases for up to 15 months with the top ranked balance transfer credit cards.

5 new ways to drive home the excitement of Nissan.

There’s a lot to see at Nissan Now. Hurry in today for great offers on our exciting full line. Get to Nissan, now.

Leader? Check. Entrepreneur? Check.

Sounds like you want to start your own business. Take the first step and register a .COM domain with GoDaddy.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Medicare Supplement Plan F is the most popular plan option, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.