Octavia Spencer has extra reason to celebrate. Not only did the “Shape of Water” star receive her third Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actress, on Tuesday, but she’s now the first black actress to earn multiple nominations after winning.
Spencer won the same category six years ago for “The Help” and was nominated last year in the same race for “Hidden Figures,” making her the first black actress to receive one post-win nomination. This year’s nomination also ties her with Viola Davis as the most nominated black actress, with thee each. Davis, of course, won Best Supporting Actress last year for “Fences” and was up in supporting for “Doubt” (2008) and in lead for “The Help” (2011). Whoopi Goldberg is the only other black actress with multiple nominations; she received two for her lead performance in “The Color Purple” (1985) and her winning supporting turn in “Ghost” (1990).
As we previously noted, Spencer is one of eight black women who’ve won Oscars for acting. Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball” ) is still the only black Best Actress winner. Along with Spencer, Davis and Goldberg, the others won in supporting on their first and (so far) only nominations: Hattie McDaniel (“Gone with the Wind” ), Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls” ), Mo’Nique (“Precious” ) and Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave” ).
But the best part of Spencer’s nomination is that this is the third time she’s up against a co-star from “The Help.” She defeated Jessica Chastain, who contended for “The Help,” lost to Davis last year and is now vying against Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”), who is the current favorite to win.
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