By Anthony Breznican
Updated December 04, 2012 at 10:36 PM EST

Everybody knows the little girl in Beasts of the Southern Wild is beyond adorable, but who would’ve guessed that the creatures playing the monsters would also trigger cute overload?

In this exclusive making-of clip, we get a close look at the tiny, hoofed actors who portrayed the giant, apocalyptic aurochs in this dreamlike indie fable, about a little bayou girl helping her ailing daddy fight back against the end of the world.

The movie, which debuted last January at the Sundance Film Festival and hits Blu-ray and DVD today, was shut out of the shortlist for the visual effects Oscar, but it remains a player for a number of other top awards, including Best Picture.

These two videos pull back the curtain on the do-it-yourself ingenuity that the low-budget movie employed to bring its prehistoric behemoths to life.

Of course, the film will be facing some other behemoths in the Best Picture race — Argo, Les Miserables, Lincoln, and Life of Pi –which had considerably larger budgets behind them. Beasts has its own epic qualities, however.

Among them is 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, who was just 6 when she shot the film, and was recently nominated for a Spirit Award for her lead role in the film. She remains a possible candidate in the Academy Award field for Best Actress, where she would be the youngest-ever nominee.

Director Behn Zeitlin adapted the script with Lucy Alibar, who wrote the play that inspired it, and they could also find themselves in the adapted screenplay category.

Visual effects, however, remains the domain of the technological cutting-edge, not the clever homemade solution. Voters in the Academy’s visual effects branch chose a short-list of contenders that focused mainly on massive, computer-generated contenders such as The Avengers, Life of Pi, Skyfall, and The Hobbit.

There is no such barrier to the Best Picture prize, however. On behalf of everyone who has seen and loved this movie, let me just say to those filling out their ballots later this month: Little pigs, little pigs … let them in!

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Beasts of the Southern Wild

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 93 minutes