The Louisiana-born star, 9, is up for Best Actress for her role in the fantasy drama Beasts of the Southern Wild.
You’re the youngest Best Actress nominee in history. What does that mean to you?
It’s exciting. Everybody’s proud, and that makes me proud. I had to learn what it was. I kept asking, “Who’s Oscar?” If I win, I have a special place for it on top of a bookshelf in my room.
What do you like most about acting? [She will next appear in the historical drama Twelve Years a Slave.]
Everything. You meet different people and see new places. I had never acted before. I was nervous, but I got used to it.
Your name [pronounced Kwe-VEN-zhah-nay] is so unique. What does it mean?
“Quven” is a combination of my parents’ first names, and “zhané” means “fairy” in Swahili. I like to hear people try to say it—it’s kind of funny when they get it wrong! Send questions to email@example.com or P.O. Box 5001, Grand Central Station, New York, N.Y. 10163-5001.