'Beasts of the Southern Wild' at the White House: Michelle Obama can't pronounce Quvenzhané Wallis either

michelle-obama-quvenzhane-wallis-white-house-beats-of-the-southern-wild-gi.jpg"Zero Dark Thirty" and "Argo" are among the Academy Awards Best Picture nominees that have obvious political undertones. But other nominees are joining the fray and taking the Oscar race to the White House.

After Barack Obama held a private White House screening of "Lincoln" with Daniel Day-Lewis, "Silver Linings Playbook" took a Washington, D.C. field trip of their own. Director David O. Russell and Best Actor nominee Bradley Cooper recently visited with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss mental health issues.

And while Ben Affleck is a regular visitor inside the beltway, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" star Quvenzhané Wallis is a newbie. Michelle Obama invited her to take part in a workshop at the White House involving students from D.C. and New Orleans, La., a filming location for the movie.

The New York Daily News reports Mrs. Obama had difficulty pronouncing nine-year-old Wallis' name, so Quvenzhané gave the First Lady permission to call her by her nickname, "Q." Mrs. Obama gave a glowing endorsement to the film, calling it "one of the most powerful and important movies that has been put out this year -- or in a long time, quite frankly."

The workshop was held in honor of Black History Month, and Mrs. Obama took the time to impress upon the students about their futures. "This event is important to me not only because I love and believe in this film, but also because I deeply love and believe in all of you," she says. "Do you understand that? I deeply love and believe all of you and I haven't even met you. But I know you're out there and I know your potential, I know your promise."

Quvenzhané is the youngest-ever nominee for Best Actress. Along with the Oscar nom, she's taken home several trophies for her film debut, including the Critics Choice Award for Best Young Actress and the National Board of Review Award for Breakthrough Actress. In case you missed it in theaters, "Beasts" is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.
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