For the past couple of weeks, the Cultural Arbiters have been spewing about how the state of Alabama is some sort of Fourth World hellhole; most of my memories of the place are pretty positive, and so I decided to open this space to someone from Alabama with major talent and, yes, a great smile. So happy birthday, Octavia Spencer (
47 we won’t mention the number). She was born in Montgomery and graduated from Auburn, and since we haven’t looked in on her in a couple of years, it seems like a good time to catch up.
Last time, release of The Shack was imminent, and some people got their BVDs knotted over it. Reviews were generally hostile. The box-office take, however, was formidable.
Coming up next week: Ma, an atypical horror film with a black lead, and a female black lead at that.
And she has three films coming out in 2020 — so far.
To touch on that whole “smile” business, we have two clips. First, some lighthearted banter with Ellen:
And the very antithesis of “lighthearted,” a scene from 2011’s The Help, which got Octavia the first of three Academy Award nominations and an actual win:
Definitely someone with whom you do not mess.