While she didn’t come right out and say it, First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday gave strong indications that Beasts of the Southern Wild could be her choice for the Best Picture Oscar. She appeared at the White House in the State Dining Room for a workshop with the cast and crew of the film and about 80 middle and high school students from DC and New Orleans. In her remarks to them, she called Beasts “one of the most powerful and important movies that has been put out this year and in a long time.”
The First Lady said she had the opportunity to see the film this summer with friends and family—whose ages ranged from 3 to 75 years old—and gave it a rave review. “It’s rare to find a movie that so completely and utterly captivates such a broad audience,” she said. “It managed to be beautiful and devastatingly honest.” She called it a “story of poverty and devastation and hope and love.”
On the stage with her was the film’s star, Quvenzhané Wallis, who has been nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Mrs. Obama had fun trying to pronounce Wallis’s first name and finally just asked the nine-year-old actress, “Do you have a nickname?” Wallis replied that it is “Q.” Mrs. Obama replied, “Can I call you Q?”
Also on the stage with the First Lady and Wallis were the film’s director, Ben Zeitlin, Wallis’s costar, Dwight Henry, and Rachel Goslins of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, who moderated a discussion with the film’s cast and crew and the students in the audience.