Playwright and screenwriter Lucy Alibar, who grew up on a farm near Monticello, Fla., was sticking to her normal routine when the Oscar nominations were announced on Thursday morning.
Alibar and her writing partner, director Benh Zeitlin, adapted her original play, Juicy and Delicious, into the critically acclaimed film Beasts of the Southern Wild. The movie about a young girl and her ailing father in the Louisiana bayou had lots of Oscar buzz surrounding it.
"I was at home trying to do yoga this morning, truly not expecting anything," Alibar, 30, said in an e-mail early Thursday afternoon. "Then my parents called."
Her parents, attorney Baya M. Harrison III and artist Barbara Harrison, were watching CNN in Monticello when the news came on that Alibar and Zeitlin snagged a nomination for best adapted screenplay. Beasts also picked up nods for best director, best picture and best actress.
"I think my dad broke some furniture and scared all the dogs in his celebrating," Alibar said. "My mom just kept saying, 'Now you might get to meet Tony Kushner!'"
Kushner, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America, is nominated in the same category as Alibar and Zeitlin for his screenplay of Lincoln.
"Lucy loved Angels in America when it came out when she was in high school, and thought he was just the king," Barbara Harrison said in an e-mail. "I am betting he will introduce himself to her at some point."
"I am more grateful than I can say," Alibar said of her nomination.
Alibar, who once worked during her high-school days as a waitress, was a voracious reader from a young age. "They would drop me off at the public library in Tallahassee and I would hang out there reading until it closed," Alibar said in an interview with the Tallahassee (Fla).Democrat in July.
That's where she fell in love with the writings of Ntozake Shange (For Colored Girls ...), Tennessee Williams (Night of the Iguana), Flannery O'Connor (Wise Blood), Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita) and, of course, Kushner.
"I can't write about rich people having relationship problems and breaking up in New York," Alibar said. "I don't know that world of Terrence McNally. I knew I had to write people who talk the way I talk. And they talked very different than Terrence McNally."
"I think she had read more books by the seventh grade than I have read in my whole life," Barbara Harrison said. "She read like a fish drinks water."
And it paid off.