LOS ANGELES — On March 21, 2012, the state of Alabama officially proclaimed “Octavia Spencer Day” for the native daughter who had captured the nation’s attention and a supporting-actress Oscar for her role as Minny in The Help weeks earlier.
The Montgomery native was granted stretch pink limousine service, slammed down the state Legislature gavel and heard a hometown marching band play a song in her honor. But after that Spencer, 43, stopped accepting accolades for her work.
“It’s hard to outdo a day in my honor, so I kind of wanted that to be the ultimate moment. I didn’t go beyond that,” Spencer says. “At some point you have to stop. I’d be running around accepting things, then I’d get rusty for the work.”
That’s not likely to happen. She is re-emerging with a vengeance, starting with her co-starring role in Fruitvale Station (opening wide on Friday), which garnered top honors at January’s Sundance Film Festival. The film by 27-year-old writer/director Ryan Coogler is based on the true story of Oscar Grant, a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area who was shot by police on New Year’s Day 2009.