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Flotus-2_9First Lady Michelle Obama hosted cast and crew of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” at the White House today, giving the Oscar contender her endorsement and hosting the type of awards-season event that is commonplace for any kudo hopeful: A Q&A.

Director Benh Zeitlin and actors Dwight Henry and Quvenzhane Wallis sat below a portrait of Abraham Lincoln in the State Dining Room as Rachel Goslins, executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities, queried them on the making of the movie and its message. The event was tied to Black History Month, with an audience of middle and high school students, but speaking before the Q&A, Obama noted that “this is high season for film.”

She said that “it’s rare these days to find a movie that can so completely and utterly captivate such a broad audience, and that was one of the things that struck me about this movie. It managed to be beautiful, joyful and devastatingly honest.” The first lady said she first saw the movie last summer “with a large group of our friends and family.”

She also went in to the “Beasts” backstory, how Zeitlin developed the movie “without a huge budget,” how Henry, a bakery owner, “never acted a day in his life” before taking the role of Wink, and how Wallis is “the youngest person ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.”

The complete video is below.