Octavia Spencer was humble and teary eyed after winning best supporting actress for her role in “The Help.” She played Minny Jackson, a maid with a fiery temperament and little tolerance for the social injustice of her era.
Spencer laughed and cried during her acceptance speech which ran over the time limit. Although it seemed as though she hardly had time to say anything of substance for her first win.
“Thank you, academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room,” Spencer said, referring to Christian Bale, who presented her Oscar. He won the award last year for “The Fighter.”
Spencer bested her co-star Jessica Chastain, who was nominated for her role as Celia Foote, who was scorned the social set. She hired Minny, after she was fired and together they exacted revenge on their snobby neighbors.
Co-star Viola Davis, who has been nominated for best-actress for her role as Aibileen Clark, a black maid and catalyst for the book on which the movie was based.
“I share this with everybody,” said Spencer, who is fifth African-American woman to win the honor.
Spencer, 29, debuted on the big screen as a nurse in Joel Schumacher’s 1996 film “A Time to Kill” based on the book by John Grisham.
She acted in a series of small parts after that, often were only listed as “Evelyn the maid” and “woman in an elevator.”
But she persevered and her roles grew. “The Help” catapulted her into the ranks of A-List actresses. She won both the Golden Globe and the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for her supporting role.