Actresses Viola Davis & Octavia Spencer

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The Oscar-nominated actresses passionately discuss their roles in The Help and have a spirited debate about the ambivalence many people have regarding their roles in the film.

Viola Davis made her mark as a stage actress, winning Tonys for her performances in King Hedley II and the Fences revival and earning the highest honors for an off-Broadway play for her turn in Intimate Apparel. She added Golden Globe and Oscar nominee to her string of honors for her critically acclaimed performance in the film Doubt and won the best female actor SAG award—and is once again on Oscar watch—for her turn in The Help. Davis launched her acting career after attending Juilliard and Rhode Island College. She's also wowed critics with roles on TV in such series as Law & Order: SVU.

Before receiving all the accolades for her memorable performance as the feisty and defiant Minny Jackson in The Help—including nabbing a Golden Globe, a SAG Award and an Oscar nomination—Octavia Spencer paid her dues steadily for more than a decade. Working alongside Hollywood's elite, she demonstrated her talent as a stage actress, on TV and in films, in both dramatic and comedic roles. Spencer isn’t resting on her laurels; she's writing a mystery screenplay for kids and is starting work on two new films: the indie remake Smash and Diablo Cody’s directorial debut, Lamb of God.

Last modified: March 8, 2017 at 8:07 pm