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Beasts, Django get Oscar nominations

A still from the film "Beasts of the Southern Wild" A still from the film "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

The Oscar nominations are out and you could call Hollywood South a winner. Two movies shot in South Louisiana are up for best picture: Django Unchained and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Quvenzhané Wallis, the child who starred in Beasts of the Southern Wild, is nominated for best actress. She's the youngest in Hollywood history.

Her co-star, Dwight Henry, owns a donut shop in Gentilly. He calls their experience a dream.

"When they said Beasts of the Southern Wild and Quvenzhané Wallis, I jumped up and I just felt so good," he said, remembering the announcement of nominees.   "We've been traveling together for the past four years and I look at her like she's my daughter."

The two have spanned the globe to promote the little picture that could. The film did well at the Sundance Film Festival.  It rivals the historical drama Lincoln and other big budget films for best picture. Director Ben Zeitland is also nominated for best director.

"It's been a wonderful ride. I've been to the Cannes Film Festival in France... It's been wonderful," Henry said as he rolled out a ball of dough in his shop.

Scott Hutcheson of Film New Orleans says this only adds to the city's bragging rights.

"This type of recognition tells you a couple of things that New Orleans can handle big budget films and small films. That gives us variety," Hutcheson said.

Henry has worked as a baker almost all his life, and was raised in the Lower 9th Ward.  He remembers the water in Hurricane Katrina.

"A lot of things we went through in the film, I went through in real life going through storms.  Losing families, losing loved ones," he said.

Henry auditioned for the film, hoping he'd get a spot as an extra. Little did he know he'd blow the director and producers away.

Henry has been awarded the Los Angeles Film Critic's best supporting actor award. Quvenzhané Wallis will have to wait until February 24 to see if she'll get to take home the Oscar.

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