The MTV Movie Awards were filled with jokes about sex, nudity, and more sex. And 9-year-old Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quevenzhané Wallis was there for it all. But why?
On this year’s raunchy awards show, host Rebel Wilson exposed her nipples, made a crack about Lena Dunham receiving copious amounts of oral sex, and asked Zac Efron to give her an Australian kiss (“like a French kiss but down under"). An entire presentation by Chris Rock and Adam Sandler was bleeped for television because of the gratuitous foul language. Samuel L. Jackson, as is his way, thanked all the “motherfuckers,” while numerous clips of explicit R-rated fare like Django Unchained, Ted, and Magic Mike were shown numerous times. A photo of Channing Tatum’s bare bum even got its own camera close-up.
Sitting in the front row through it all was Wallis, the precocious star of Beasts of the Southern Wild and future lead in the remake of Annie. The camera loved her, capturing more reaction shots from the elementary-schooler than any other celebrity in the audience—every cringe, shocked gasp, clueless look of boredom, confused raised eyebrow, and, after she lost the Best Breakthrough award, even some teary eyes.
Especially with such frequent reminders of Wallis’s up-close-and-personal witnessing of the mayhem, it’s hard not to wonder—what was she doing there? Sure, she was a nominee and a presenter, but perhaps it would’ve been more tasteful to bring her out for just those two big moments, shielding her from the age-inappropriate moments that happened in the meantime.
Wallis even took part in one of Wilson’s bits, which was likely approved, as these things are, by her team and at the very least her mother—who, by the way, was seated right next to her throughout the raunchfest. Throughout the last awards season, Wallis was known for carrying around adorable purses in the shape of a puppy. For the segment, Wilson pretended to go through the purse she brought to the MTV awards, revealing bottles of liquor. “Maybe your next movie might be Beasts of the Southern Comfort,” Wilson quips. “She’s 9. Know what they call drinking at age 9 in Australia? A late start.”
It was one of the few bits last night that truly worked, so we should be thankful that Wallis was game for participating in it. But did she really need to be sitting there while Seth Rogen pretended to have cartoonishly long pubic hair, too? In the video above, take a look at the most awkward Quevenzhané moments from Sunday’s MTV telecast.