Octavia Spencer seemed to come out of nowhere to dominate the Oscar race in 2012 and win the supporting actress prize for her role in The Help.
Four years later, Spencer is back in the Oscar race with her supporting nomination for Hidden Figures. She’s enjoying the return trip to the big ball and the idea that she is still silencing the doubters.
“I’ve been invited back to the party. For those who said one-and-done, or one-hit wonder, they are going to rethink that,” Spencer said on Tuesday.“And I’m told that this the first time an African American [woman] winner has come back for another nomination. Which I didn’t know. I’m reeling from that and all of this. I’m blown away.”
Not even a heavy cold Spencer has been battling could diminish the excitement of her return to the Oscar red carpet on February 26 for her role as Hidden Figures’ Dorothy Vaughan, a vital part of the unheralded team of African-American woman providing mathematical data for Nasa to help America in the space race.
While co-stars Janelle Monae and Taraji P. Henson were sidelined from the nominations, Spencer said the respect for the women the trio represent was paramount.
“I’m thrilled that I’m representing three women in history who never got their due,” says Spencer. “To be singled out for my performance is humbling, but I’m more excited for the women we represent and the roles they played.”
As for her co-stars missing out, Spencer said all the Hidden Figures stars were trading congratulatory texts and messages all morning long. The three will be together this weekend as the hit film looks to roll on with a post-Oscars boost (Hidden Figures is also nominated for best picture).
“These women are completely happy for me and the film. And we are all going to celebrate this weekend when we pass US$100 million at the box office,” says Spencer.
Spencer’s immediate plans include a party tonight hosted in her honour by The Help co-star Allison Janney before she flies off to Boston and Harvard University where she has been named Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ Woman of the Year.
Cold or no cold, Spencer is going to celebrate her return to the party.
“It’s a lot of high kicks buddy,” she says. “I’m the WB [Warner Bros] frog doing high kicks and waving my top hat.”