By Marc H. Morial,
President and CEO,
National Urban League
Octavia Spencer brought the gilded audience at Hollywood’s Kodak Theater to its feet Sunday night as she tearfully accepted the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting role for her portrayal of Minny Jackson, a proud, outspoken maid in the Oscar-nominated movie, “The Help.”
“I’m just going to live in this moment because it’s never happened before, and Lord knows it may never happen again.” said Spencer, whose break-out role in “The Help,” comes after years of mostly small parts in dozens of films, was overwhelmed with gratitude for the honor and thanked Steven Spielberg, her home state of Alabama and her fellow cast members, including Viola Davis who was nominated for Best Actress.
Spencer becomes only the 13th African American to win an acting Oscar in the 84-year history of the Academy Awards and just the sixth Black woman since Hattie McDaniel took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1940 for her role in “Gone with the Wind.”