Octavia Spencer won the supporting-actress Academy Award on Sunday for “The Help,” completing an awards-season blitz that took her from Hollywood bit player to star.
Spencer’s Oscar triumph came for her role as a headstrong black maid whose willful ways continually land her in trouble with white employers in 1960s Mississippi.
Spencer wept throughout her breathless speech, in which she apologized, between laughing and crying, for running a bit long on her time limit.
“Thank you, academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room,” Spencer said, referring to last year’s supporting-actor winner Christian Bale, who presented her Oscar.
Her brash character holds a personal connection: “The Help” author Kathryn Stockett based some of the woman’s traits on Spencer, whom she met through childhood pal Tate Taylor, the director of the film.
Before taking the stage, Spencer got kisses from “The Help” co-stars Viola Davis, a best-actress nominee, and Jessica Chastain, a fellow supporting nominee.
“I share this with everybody,” Spencer said.