Octavia Spencer Wins Awards And Our Hearts (With Pie) During Breakout Actress Week

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Awards season has long been the perfect time for the movie industry’s fresh faces to gain exposure at movie premieres, on red carpets and in a barrage of print and TV interviews. Often, it’s when we first become aware of young actresses, like Oscar nominees Hailee Steinfeld and Jennifer Lawrence last year. This year, it’s not just teenagers catching our eye; a few ladies who’ve been around for decades are finally getting their due as well. All week long, we at TheFablife are saluting these women and looking forward to what they’ll bring us after the last statuettes are handed out on Sunday. We’ve looked at Berenice Bejo’s, Shailene Woodley’s, Melissa McCarthy’s, Rooney Mara’s and Jessica Chastain’s big moments so far, and now we turn to …

Who: Octavia Spencer

Age: 39

What she did before 2011: A graduate of Auburn University, Octavia knew she wanted to work in the film industry, but had no idea it would end up being in front of the camera. Her film debut was appearing as a nurse in 1996′s A Time To Kill; though she was initially hired to work on the movie’s casting. After her first role, Octavia continued acting and has appeared in over 80 movies and television shows including Never Been Kissed, Being John Malkovich, The X-Files, Big Momma’s House, Bad Santa, Ugly Betty and Seven Pounds.

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Why we’re paying attention now: Octavia Spencer has taken this awards season by storm, winning a Critics’ Choice Movie Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA and a SAG Award for her role as Minny in The Help. She’s also nominated for an Academy Award.

We’re not the only ones who think Octavia is deserving of a breakout actress title this season, her Help co-star Allison Janney sang her praises to VH1 News last month at Sundance and named Octavia “The Breakout Actress Of The Year,” with Jessica Chastain a close second.

What’s next? Octavia already has four new movies filmed, including Smashed,The Perfect Fit, The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife and Lost on Purpose, but perhaps what we’re most excited for is a Diablo Cody film she’s set to star in with Holly Hunter and Julianne Hough.