Sony Pictures said the youngest Oscar nominee in history will star in its upcoming version of Annie, a timely announcement in the hours leading up to the Academy Awards on Sunday [24].

Walis [pictured centre at Cannes last summer], nominated for an Academy Award on Sunday for her acclaimed role in Beasts Of The Southern Wild, will star as the iconic big-hearted orphan in the Columbia Pictures, Overbrook Entertainment and Marcy Media production.

Will Gluck directs and Sony will handle worldwide distribution. Annie is being targeted for a winter holiday season 2014 release.

James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith will produce through Overbrook Entertainment alongside by Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Jay Brown and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith of Marcy Media. Andrea Giannetti and Devon Franklin will oversee production for Columbia Pictures.

Gluck is revising the screenplay, written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the musical stage play Annie, the book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, as well as the comic strip Little Orphan Annie.