Winfrey, ‘Beasts’ actress honored at Essence lunch

February 21, 2013 • Entertainment

Oprah Winfrey, recipient of the Power Award, reacts to photographers at the 6th Annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — [auth] Nine-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhane’ (Kwa-VEHN-ja-nay) 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. Quvenzhane stood on a step so she could speak at the podium, and thanked God, “Beasts” director Behn Zeitlin and her “baby sitter that was on set.”

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

Actresses Gabrielle Union and Naomie Harris, and writer-director Mara Brock-Akil also were honored at the Essence event at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

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