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Octavia Lenora Spencer (born May 25, 1972) is an American actress, author, and producer. She is the recipient of several accolades, including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. She is one of two black actresses to have received three Academy Award nominations, the first black actress to receive two consecutive Academy Award nominations in back-to-back years, and the first black actress to receive an Academy Award nomination after previously winning.
Spencer made her film debut in the 1996 drama A Time to Kill. Following a decade of brief roles in film and television, her breakthrough came in 2011, when she played a maid in 1960s America in The Help, for which she won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. For her performance in Ryan Coogler's biopic Fruitvale Station (2013), she won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Spencer received further Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress for playing other women in 1960s America, the mathematician Dorothy Vaughan in the biographical drama Hidden Figures (2016), and a cleaning woman in the fantasy drama The Shape of Water (2017). She also appeared in the films Smashed (2012), Snowpiercer (2013), Get on Up (2014), The Divergent Series (2015–16), The Shack (2017), Gifted (2017), Instant Family (2018), Luce (2019), and Ma (2019).
As an author, Spencer has created a children's book series, titled Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective. She has published two books in the series, titled The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit (2013) and The Sweetest Heist in History (2015).
Last Updated: January 10, 2020