By receiving her third Oscar nomination last month, for Best Supporting Actress in “The Shape of Water,” Octavia Spencer matched and made several Oscar records. She tied with Viola Davis for the most Oscar nominations earned by a black actress (three). She became the first black actress to earn two consecutive nominations (following the 2016 film “Hidden Figures”), and became the first to earn multiple nominations after a previous win.
All of these accomplishments have been achieved in just a short eight-year window. With these stats in mind, let’s enjoy an Oscars flashback remembering her victory for “The Help” at the 2012 ceremony (watch the video above). After Christian Bale declares her the winner, she kisses Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain on her way up the steps to a standing ovation. Her first declaration: “Thank you Academy for putting me with the hottest guy in the room,” as she ogles her Oscar.
After more than 10 years playing small character roles in mostly television, character actress Spencer was approached by writer/director Tate Taylor for a role in his new adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s hit novel “The Help.” The character was Minny Jackson, a feisty maid who stands up to injustice from her white employers in 1960s Mississippi. The starry ensemble included Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Sissy Spacek, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, and Cicely Tyson.
Octavia won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress following a clean sweep during awards season. Trophies were from Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and Critics’ Choice Awards. After all of those victorious weeks, Spencer was certainly the clear frontrunner but did have solid competition for the Academy Award:
Berenice Bejo – “The Artist”
Bejo’s performance as a young girl groomed into a movie star by a fading silent actor was perhaps more as lead than supporting. Her co-star Jean Dujardin won Best Actor, and the film was named Best Picture.
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Spencer’s co-star played Celia, the young woman who helps Minny find a job after she’s fired by her bigoted employer. It marked Chastain’s first Oscar nomination. The following year Chastain was nominated for her leading performance in “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
McCarthy’s performance as the crass sister of a groom-to-be made her the breakout star of this blockbuster comedy starring Kristen Wiig. It also received a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Just months later, she took her growing admiration to an Emmy win for “Mike and Molly.”
Janet McTeer – “Albert Nobbs”
McTeer turned in an impressive performance as a woman living as a man in 19th Century Ireland. Both she and Glenn Close were also nominated for SAG Awards and Golden Globes for their gender bending performances. McTeer was previously nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars for “Tumbleweeds” in 1999.
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