TODAY | January 24, 2013
>>> whatever happens on oscar night, quvenzhane wallis is the youngest actress in history. ann curry meets up with the "beasts of the wild star" and chat about everything from acting to her fannedness of justin bieber.
>> the whole universe depends on everything fitting together.
>> she's a small star with enormous talent. quvenzhane was just 6 when she took on the role of hush puppy . her character faces seemingly in insurmountable odds. a life of poverty in the louisiana bayou, with no mother and father dying and a fierce storm threatens whatever they have. hush puppy must learn to survive on her own.
>> some day when i'm gone, you're going to be the last man. you have to learn how to feed yourself.
>> apple fritters.
>> reporter: dwight has been a baker in new orleans for 30 years. he plays the father in the film and like quvenzhane, he, too, is a first-time actor.
>> so the moment you first heard that the first movie you had ever acted in had been nominated for four academy awards , how did you react?
>> i was half a slesleep so didn't really reacted.
>> you woke up.
>> when you woke up and somebody told you --
>> i put on my clothes and then i woke up and then the director and the producers ran into the room and they just were yelling and screaming. so i jumped on them.
>> what about you, mr. henry?
>> it was an unbelievable feeling. like my own daughter got an oscar.
>> reporter: quvenzhane said her favorite part of shooting the film was the seafood. we went out for louisiana style crawfish.
>> what you do is you take off the head.
>> reporter: take off the head. okay, twist it. oh, i didn't do very well. okay. oh! okay.
>> you didn't do it right?
>> no, i didn't do it right.
>> put that down.
>> reporter: like a true louisiana native, quvenzhane says she can eat five pounds of crawfish.
>> oh, that was good.
>> reporter: it took a while before i finally got my first bite. that's delicious. i'm amazed. i'm so glad i learned this from you. i would have had no idea.
>> louisiana style.
>> reporter: louisiana style. her future is as bright as her personality. even as her film stands as a lesson in fortitude and she takes her place in history, she reminds us, too, she is still a 9-year-old, much like any other.
>> i like disney channel music and i like justin bieber's song "boyfriend." i like skyscraper and i like demi lovato and celine gomez and beyonce. i think that's it.
>> sing a line for me from the song you love.
>> i got one.
>> reporter: go ahead.
>> i like to be everything you are hey girl let me talk to you if i was your boyfriend i never let you go never let you go
>> well done. you are a triple threat , it sounds like.
>> i guess.
>> you know what that is?
>> yes. that means you do three things and try to do it at once, like a 3-1 shampoo.
>> is that what you are? is that what you are?
>> i'm a three in one.
>> a triple threat .
>> triple threat .
>> yes, she is.
>> she is.
>> she's adorable.
>> you can see more of ann's conversation with her tonight on "rock center" with brian williams at 10:00 and 9:00 central time on nbc.