Oscars 2012: Octavia Spencer calls 'Help' ensemble a 'beautiful unit'
Octavia Spencer, who was named best supporting actress at the Oscars for her role as Southern maid Minny Jackson in the civil-rights-era drama "The Help," was not in the mood to appear in the press room after the Academy Awards telecast on Sunday night, asking that she not have to take too many questions.
Indeed Spencer, who cried onstage after her win, seemed exhausted and overwhelmed to the point of being edgy. When asked about her thoughts on the lack of diversity in the motion picture academy, which is largely white and male, the African American actress bristled just a bit.
“I don’t have any thoughts about it; it’s not something I’ve thought about. I wish I could be more eloquent — elegant in answering that question,” she said. “I can’t tell the academy what to do, honey. They just gave me an Oscar.”
A moment later, after she took another question, she seemed to feel bad about her answer.
“I didn’t mean to cut you off, ma’am,” she said to the reporter who asked the diversity question. “I just knew where you were going, and I didn’t want to get on that bus.”
The usually chipper actress’ mood brightened when she was asked about her experience working on “The Help.”
“It’s rare that you have the type of ensemble that we had,” she said. “We left our egos at the door and worked as one beautiful unit.”
But at the end of the day, Spencer said that she felt she was accepting the Oscar on the part of those who lived through the civil rights struggle.
“I’m a benefactor of all of the riches that the real-life Minnys, Aibileens and Celias basically reaped,” said Spencer. “I’m very humble because I get to stand here and accept this award, and I haven’t really done anything.”
— Jessica Gelt
Photo: Octavia Spencer with presenter Christian Bale and her award for supporting actress for "The Help" backstage at the 84th Academy Awards. Credit: Joel Ryan/Associated Press.