Sandra Bullock was a supporting actress -- lower case -- for best supporting actress Octavia Spencer Sunday night.
When Octavia Spencer was announced as winner of the supporting actress Oscar for The Help one of the loudest whoops came from backstage (from Bullock). “Sorry,” Sandra Bullock quickly apologized as workers turned to stare.
“I don't even know what I said,” a still stunned Spencer remarked as she walked offstage and into the arms of Bullock.
When Spencer stepped off the stage after accepting her award, she could barely stand. Bullock held her for 30 seconds and then carried the train of her dress as the two walked through the wings.
"Sandy, thank you for that train," Spencer said, before making a quick stop at the official Oscar Thank You Cam. Spencer got just one sentence out before stopping.
"I don't wanna cry. I wanna be pretty," she said.
Things changed in 1995 when she worked on the drama "A Time to Kill." Spencer was a huge fan not only of stars Sandra Bullock and Samuel L. Jackson, but also of director Joel Schumacher, who had helmed "Car Wash." Spencer felt compelled to ask him for an audition. "I wanted to play the woman who starts the riot," she recalls. "But Joel told me I was too sweet-looking and should read for the part of Sandy's nurse instead. So I did, and somehow I got it."
Spencer credits Bullock with making her first time on screen so easy and giving her the confidence to pursue acting as a career. Bullock, however, refuses to take too much credit."Octavia is much too generous with that statement," Bullock says. "She would have entered into this business of acting whether I was there or not. Her energy and personality are so infectious that any room she walks into, everyone wants to be her friend, or just hang out with her and be in her space. Now, that doesn't always mean someone like that has a talent for the camera, but in this case it does."
Spencer moved to Los Angeles on Jan. 1, 1996. "I knew I wanted to drive into the city and this new life on January 1st," she says. And Bullock gave her another break by casting her in the short she was directing, "Making Sandwiches." Though Spencer originally signed on to help with casting, she soon found herself sharing scenes with Bullock and Matthew McConaughey.
Recalls Bullock, "She wasn't meant to have more than a few lines in the short film, but as everyone will soon find out, you don't just give Octavia Spencer 'a few lines.' The minute she opens her mouth, she makes a meal out of every word. And once we saw what she could do, we kept on giving her more to say."
Spencer says her work in that film started her career: "I was sort of naïve and didn't realize how huge it was to have tape of myself with these two giant stars. But that film got me an agent, and things took off from there." In addition, the director of photography on the film, Mike Ozier, recommended her for a role in the Disney comedy "The Sixth Man," which she booked.
Bullock is in no way surprised by Spencer's success. "When you meet her, you know she is destined to entertain," she says. "I know not all people with tremendous talent are given the opportunities that they so deserve, but in this case a lifelong friendship with Tate Taylor brought together two very talented people who deserve success and who are grateful for it. This opportunity will not go wasted or be abused by one fabulous Octavia Spencer."
The second part is from last year, but I never read it before. I like how close Octavia & Sandra seem to be. And she deserves all the accolades she has received.