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BILL ZWECKER: Quvenzhane Wallis, thinking about tomorrow, lands lead role in ‘Annie’

This combinatifile photos provided by film studios listed below shows nominees for best actress 77th annual Academy Awards.  From

This combination of file photos provided by the film studios listed below shows the nominees for best actress in the 77th annual Academy Awards. From left are: Hillary Swank in "Million Dollar Baby," provided Warner Bros. Pictures; Imelda Staunton in "Vera Drake," provided by Fine Line Features; Annette Bening in "Being Julia," provided by Sony Pictures Classics; Kate Winslet in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," provided by Universal Studios and Catalina Sandino Moreno in "Maria Full of Grace," provided by Fine Line Features. The nominations for the Feb. 27th Academy Awards ceremony were announced Tuesday morning, Jan. 25, 2005, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo)

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Updated: February 24, 2013 11:26PM



The youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history — Quvenzhane Wallis — was also one of the most inundated by high-fives and happy greetings from other stars on the red carpet as she entered the Dolby Theatre. The 9-year-old actress was said to be “over the moon” that the news broke Sunday she was cast in the title role of “Annie,” a big-screen remake of the Little Orphan Annie musical.

The role originally was intended for producers Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s daughter, Willow. Because of delays in putting the project together, Willow aged out of the role.“After Will and Jada — and Willow — saw Quvenzhane in ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild,’ they just

knew she was the right girl to play Annie,” said a source close to the Smiths, texting from the Oscars red carpet Sunday.

“They just knew she’d be able to also sing and dance perfectly. … Everyone is so excited about this,” added the source. The film is expected to be released in time for the 2014 Christmas holidays.

Asked on the red carpet by ABC’s Lara Spencer if she can sing, Quvenzhane modestly replied, “I guess so.” But my source said several “simple quasi-audition sessions” proved the young actress is up to it.

Though Quvenzhane was sent a ton of puppy purses to carry at the Oscars, she ended up with an old favorite from her own collection of those signature kiddie bags. “It was Q’s idea to name him after her puppy at home — Sammy,” said a member of the Wallis Oscar team. “She said, ‘I think people will like to hear that.’ … She is so savvy for such a little girl!”

HOST WAS COOL: According to a veteran Motion Picture Academy insider, Seth MacFarlane “is the calmest host we’ve had — at least in the many years I’ve worked the Oscars show.” According to a source close to MacFarlane, his explanation for being prepared was, “It’s simple. I haven’t slept in five months. … Think that makes me qualified to be named an honorary vampire by the ‘Twilight’ kids.”

Turning serious, MacFarlane is “very happy” this year’s Academy Awards brought back musical numbers — and more of them — than in recent years.

SEXY GUYS: When George Clooney ran into Bradley Cooper at the Oscars on Sunday, he joked they should “round up Ben [Affleck], Denzel [Washington], [Richard] Gere and Hugh [Jackman] for a class picture!” His point? They all — plus Channing Tatum (also at the Oscars) — have been named People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” honorees.

SCARY NOTE: Here’s a sad commentary on our world today. Oscar security reportedly was tighter than ever — and that’s saying a lot, as it’s always been White House-level tight. But a number of stars noted the very visible snipers posted on the top of buildings surrounding the Oscars red carpet.

SO MANY CHOICES: Well-known as a true fashionista, Jessica Chastain is believed to be the one nominee who had the most designers vying for her to wear one of their creations on Oscar night. The winner was Armani Prive and the flesh-colored beaded creation she wore so beautifully. It was the one she selected from more than 100 dresses offered up.

A close Chastain associate told the Sun-Times, “The dress really spoke to Jessica. She said, ‘This is the Oscars! I think we need to make it the most glamorous night we can. … This dress brings back old Hollywood … kind of like a ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President,’ dress.”

After a number of people stepped on her gown on the red carpet, Amy Adams quipped, “Maybe I should have rethought this dress. I’m afraid it’s too fragile.”

WILD DAY: Things were so “chaotic” at Jennifer Lawrence’s house on Oscar morning (her word), the actress had to be pushed by her family to get ready. “She was so concerned about everyone else, she thought about herself last,” said a BZ spy in the know.



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