Even though the character of Minny Jackson in the best-selling book “The Help” was based on her, actress Octavia Spencer was worried that another woman would be cast in the role for the film. “I think if I was a person writing a $25 million check, I would want to go with people that already had a built-in fan base,” she admitted in a video chat with senior editors Rob Licuria and Chris Beachum. “I thought it would go to one of them before it got to me,” she added, referring to Oscar winners Mo’Nique and Jennifer Hudson plus Oscar nominee Queen Latifah.
The film’s director/screenwriter Tate Taylor had introduced Spencer to his childhood friend, Kathryn Stockett, while she was writing the book. The trio took a walking tour of New Orleans in 108 degree weather and Stockett saw Spencer at her worst. As she revealed, “I don’t really think she had a clear idea of who Minny would be. She met this little short, feisty woman (yours truly) and took it from there. Her combative nature is based on a very intense version of who I was that day.”
Since the film’s release in August, Spencer has been a frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress. Our Gold Derby odds show her in first place with 1/10 odds over Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants“), Vanessa Redgrave (“Coriolanus“), Berenice Bejo (“The Artist“), and Chastain (“The Tree of Life“). Of our 30 Experts, she is listed in either first place by 28 of them (Guy Lodge of “In Contention” places her in fourth; Jeff Wells of “Hollywood Elsewhere” does not rank her). Of our 10 Editors, nine place her in first position, while Daniel Montgomery has her in second.