To any astute, fair-minded moviegoer Octavia Spencer‘s Best Supporting Actress nomination for her performance in Hidden Figures was a fitting tribute to a focused, lived-in thing. Spencer always hits that emotive sweet spot, never too showy or quiet, and her channeling of the late mathematician Dorothy Vaughn fit right into the humanistic scheme of Theodore Melfi‘s historical drama, which is now at $119 million since opening on 12.25.
Hidden Figures Oscar nominee Octavia Spencer.
I’ve been hey-hey friendly with Octavia for roughly five and a half years, or since I first met her during a press gathering for Tate Taylor‘s The Help in July of 2011. I got to know her a little better during some Fruitvale Station press events a couple of years later, and better still during the launch of Mike Binder‘s Black or White in the fall of 2015.
We did a phoner just before I drove up to the Santa Barbara Film Festival, and it’s taken me this long to post it — my bad. Every day I’m juggling six or seven bowling pins, and I always drop one or two. Here’s our chat.
Back in ’12 or ’13 Octavia and I were in Prague at the same time (I noticed she’d tweeted about being there) and so I tweeted back “Yo, Octavia….Jeffrey Wells in Prague also!…let’s meet for brewskis!” But she never replied.
Everyone knows that Fences‘ Viola Davis is going to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar on Sunday, 2.26. I know it, Octavia knows it, every HE reader knows it and the 20th Century Fox publicity team knows it so why play games? But Octavia is one of the friendliest and gentlest souls I know in this racket, and seeing her is always an absolute pleasure so here I am, giving her the old “hey hey” again.
Octavia with Emma Stone, Matt Damon and Natalie Portman during Monday’s Oscar nominee luncheon.
I was going to write a headline that said “An Oscar Vote For Hidden Figures‘ Octavia Spencer Is Like Voting For A Gentle, All-Embracing Deity” — an allusion to her forthcoming role as “Papa” (i.e., God) in Stuart Hazeldine‘s The Shack, a faith-based drama that Summit will release on March 3rd. As you might expect, Spencer’s casting has already triggered religious-yahoo protests but what else is new?
Spencer has two other 2017 performances in the pipeline — a supporting performance in Marc Webb‘s Gifted (Fox Searchlight, 4.12) and also in Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water, another FS project that will probably debut in the fall.
All hail Octavia, Hidden Figures, her costars (Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner), the NASA space program of the ’60s and every other factor in between.
Again, the mp3.