Octavia Spencer is considered to be one of the greatest actresses of our generation, and for a good reason. She’s starred in countless movies and TV shows, whether as part of the supporting cast or in the leading role.
Her career in the movie industry started out in the late ‘90s when she debuted in A Time to Kill. Her rise to fame has been slow and steady. But it wasn’t until 2011 and her Oscar-winning performance that she started creating quite a buzz.
From comedy and drama to science fiction, Octavia’s versatility and acting skills shine through in any genre. The following is a list of just some of her movies (in chronological order) that everyone should check out.
No list of Spencer’s movies would be complete without The Help. Up until this movie, she mostly had some small roles and guest appearances, and it was The Help that propelled her career.
The film is based on the eponymous novel, and it depicts the life of a white journalist, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, and her relationship with two black maids during the Civil Rights era.
Octavia plays Minny Jackson, one of the maids, and her performance won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Since getting her Academy Award, she’s been receiving bigger (and maybe even better) roles that truly showcase her abilities as an actress.
This is Ryan Coogler’s first feature film. As a film director, producer, and screenwriter, he was the genius behind such movies as Creed and Black Panther. This makes it clear what an amazing feature Fruitvale Station is.
Based on a true story, Fruitvale Station is about Oscar Grant III’s last day alive, as he was shot dead by San Francisco police on New Year’s Eve in 2008.
Octavia Spencer’s role here is small but brings great depth to the whole story. She portrays Oscar’s mother, and it was speculated that her performance would grant her another Academy Award. However, she received no nominations for it.
Another film based on a true story, Hidden Figures is truly a must-see. The movie is about black female mathematicians who worked at NASA and made huge contributions during the Space Race but went mostly unnoticed.
Octavia Spencer plays Dorothy Vaughan, NASA’s mathematician and human-computer. This performance might just be the best one of her career. Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, and Janelle Monáe have mesmerizing chemistry on screen, and although Spencer is part of the supporting cast, her acting takes the spotlight every time.
Gifted is a touching drama film where Spencer is cast alongside Chris Evans, and the child star Mckenna Grace.
The movie revolves around the 7-year-old child prodigy, a mathematical genius called Mary, and her uncle, Frank. After Mary’s mother had committed suicide, she starts living with her uncle, and it’s soon discovered that she’s uniquely talented. Since she can’t bond with children her own age, her best friend becomes her 40-year-old neighbor, played by Spencer.
Custody issues arise between Frank and Mary’s grandmother Evelyn who argue about whether Mary should attend a school for the gifted children or enjoy a normal childhood.
The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water is a unique movie which had garnered no less than 4 Academy Awards; Best Picture, Best Director, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score.
Octavia Spencer portrays Zelda Fuller, who acts as a coworker, friend, and translator for mute Elisa Esposito. Elisa falls in love with a male humanoid amphibian, teaches him sign language, gives him food, and plays music for him.
Although Octavia was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in The Shape of Water, she did not win the award.
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Check out Spencer’s roles wherever you are. She does, after all, steal the limelight from anyone who is on the screen with her. That is the magic of Octavia Spencer – she draws people’s attention with her captivating performances in both serious and humorous situations.