Outfest is recognizing Octavia this year by awarding her the James Schamus Ally Award.
Octavia Spencer will be honored with the James Schamus Ally Award at the 2021 Outfest LA LGBTQ Film Festival.
The award will be presented to the actress and producer at DTLA’s Orpheum Theatre on August 22, as part of the festival’s Closing Night Gala.
The Ally Award was created “to honor the efforts of an individual in bringing LGBTQ stories to the forefront.” It takes its name from Oscar-nominated producer James Schamus, who was awarded Outfest’s Achievement Award in 2014. Past honorees include James Franco, Andra Day, and Rita Moreno.
At this year’s festival, Spencer isn’t just an honoree. She also has a film making its world premiere, titled Right to Try, which she produced with Brian Clisham and Stephanie Kluft, via her Orit Entertainment banner.
The documentary short tells the story of Jeffrey Drew, who puts his life on the line to try and help find a cure for HIV. Zeberiah Newman directed the project, which also had Andrew Carlberg on board as a producer.
“In honoring Octavia, we are paying tribute to one of the most incredible, talented, and inspiring voices and storytellers of our generation,” said Outfest Executive Director, Damien S. Navarro. “Her body of work is made up of such a diversity of roles, and has brought great empathy and opened conversations about aspects faced by many members of our QBIPOC community and audiences.”
“I am so honored to be recognized with the 2021 Annual James Schamus Ally Award,” added Spencer. “I am proud to bring LGBTQIA+ stories to audiences all over the world and am thrilled that our own film, Right to Try, will be making its premiere at this important festival. It speaks to the kind of stories I want to see on screen – celebrating everyday heroes with a true sense of hope.”
Spencer is a three-time Oscar nominee who claimed a Supporting Actress statuette in 2012, with her turn as Minny Jackson in Tate Taylor’s The Help. She has also been nominated in the past for performances in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water and Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures.
The actress is currently in production on Sean Anders and John Morris’ film Spirited, in which she stars alongside Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell. She will next be seen in the second season of Apple’s crime drama, Truth Be Told—which she also exec produces—and in Amazon Studios’ sci-fi thriller Encounter.
Last year, Spencer starred in Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker, a Netflix limited series which she exec produced with LeBron James and his production company, Springhill Entertainment. She also recently served as an EP on Green Book, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2019.
Outfest Los Angeles will be held this year between August 13-22, returning to in-person screenings over a year-and-a-half after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly every film programmed by the nation’s leading LGBTQ festival will also be available for streaming, for those at-risk or who live outside of the region.
Variety shares that Orit Entertainment is doing a new documentary that will be released on World AIDS Day.
Octavia Spencer has joined “Right to Try,” a documentary short about an HIV cure treatment trial, as a producer through her production company Orit Entertainment. Spencer will produce along with her partner Brian Clisham and creative executive Stephanie Kluft.
The doc, directed by “The Late Late Show With James Corden” producer Zeberiah Newman, tells the story of casting director Jeffrey Drew’s participation in an experimental trial for an HIV cure.
The team, which also includes Andrew Carlberg, producer of the Oscar-winning short “Skin,” is hoping to find a distributor in time to release the film on Dec. 1 to mark the 40th anniversary of World AIDS Day.
“The sacrifices and the potential sacrifices that Jeffrey made in an effort to cure HIV, which 38 million people worldwide are battling, is a heroic journey that everyone should know about,” Clisham tells Variety.
Clisham says he and Spencer reached out to Newman after first reading about the doc last month in “Just for Variety.”
Drew was diagnosed with HIV about 34 years ago, when he was 23. He has been treated with various antivirals ever since his diagnosis. However, after the experimental treatment, he stopped taking antivirals. Drew’s viral load — the amount of HIV in one’s blood — has now been undetectable for about seven months, meaning it’s so low that tests can’t detect the virus, nor can it be transmitted through sex.
“What a dream to work with Octavia Spencer,” Newman says. “She is one of the most talented and incredible storytellers working today. I am so excited to be working with her, Brian and Stephanie to make sure Jeffrey’s story reaches the largest audience as possible.”
Octavia Spencer tells why it’s important to support fellow “sisters” in Hollywood. Plus, it’s all love for “Truth Be Told” costar Kate Hudson–until you cross her.
I have updated the site with a beautiful new theme thanks to the design talents of Claudia at Never Enough Designs. I love this look and I hope you do too!
I am working hard to bring the site back up to date. I started by adding a bunch of new outtakes from various photoshoots that we were missing! Hope you enjoy!
– Octavia Spencer Online > PHOTO SHOOTS > Outtakes > Last Uploads
Loved this article talking about the strength of the performances that Octavia gives.
You know who’s a real gem of an actress? Octavia Spencer. It might be unfair to say this, but if acting was basketball, then Octavia Spencer would probably be the industry’s MVP when it comes to assists. That’s because when you typically think of Octavia Spencer movies, you probably think about how she’s often the most shining performance in a supporting role. That’s not to say that she doesn’t take on lead roles, as she had an important one just recently in HBO Max’s The Witches. That said, most of her most memorable performances are usually of her giving a helping hand.
But support is so, so important, and it can make or break a story. That’s likely why Ms. Spencer won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for The Help, and was also nominated two other times for Hidden Figures and The Shape of Water. But if there is any one truth about Octavia Spencer, it’s that she’s an impeccable actress and we’re lucky to have her. Now on with the list.
10. Zootopia (Mrs. Otterton)
Voice acting is no easy feat, especially when you’re playing the diminutive Mrs. Otterton in Disney’s hit movie, Zootopia. Emotions run high in this film, and Octavia Spencer’s performance as a woman looking for her missing husband is a shining moment in a movie just brimming with shining moments. It’s such a little role, but Octavia Spencer manages to get us all emotionally invested in the search for her husband, and we’re rooting for Lt. Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde to find him.
But what really makes this performance special is just how well Octavia Spencer’s voice disappears into the character. Sure, if you know it’s her, then you’ll hear her. But if you don’t know it’s her, then you’ll just get fully invested in this character’s plight and sadness and will most likely say, “That was Octavia Spencer?” once you read the closing credits. She’s just too good. Even as an otter.
9. Snowpiercer (Tanya)
With such massive and memorable performances by Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, and Chris Evans, it’s often easy to forget that Octavia Spencer is even in Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer. But once you watch it again, you’ll remember her since she plays such an important but subtle role as Tanya, a mother who is determined to get her son back from authoritarian forces. She has a voice and she uses it to motivate people, much to great effect.
And while I won’t spoil the movie for you in case you haven’t seen it yet (and if you haven’t, it’s currently on Netflix) what ultimately happens to her will make you pound the armrest of your seat once you get invested in her character. Which is why Snowpiercer is a good movie on your first watch, but a great movie on your second or third viewings. And Octavia Spencer is just one of the reasons why. She’s acting her butt off without you really even noticing it. Because that’s just how great she is.
8. Onward (The Manticore)
I love Onward. In fact, it’s actually my new favorite Pixar movie, despite its lackluster performance at the box office. But as much as I love the overall story of two sons trying to bring back their father, what I love just as much is the characters. And Octavia Spencer comes in the blow us all away again as the once fierce, but now family-friendly, Manticore.
Octavia Spencer is hilarious since she has to withhold the seething, relentless rage that her species is known for, but also keep it all under wraps so that she can run a fantasy-themed restaurant. Of course she can’t hold it all together for too long, nor would we ever want her to.
Collider talks to Octavia about her new role in The Witches and what animal she is not a fan of!
With Robert Zemeckis’ The Witches now available to watch on HBO Max, we got the chance to catch up with Octavia Spencer to discuss her experience making the film. Spencer plays the grandmother of a young boy (Jahzir Bruno) who loses his parents. Soon after taking him in, they venture off to a hotel where, unbeknownst to them, the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway) is hosting an event to show off her new scheme to her underlings, a plot to transform children into mice.
In addition to discussing her experience making the movie, Spencer also took a moment to address the inspiration behind the continued work she’s doing with her alma mater, Auburn University, and if she’d rather work with a real animal or CG creature. Check it all out in this interview!
Octavia did a recent appearance for Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Octavia talks about her interest in politics, sneaking into Ted Kennedy’s office, getting back to work, celebrating her 50th birthday in quarantine, surprises from her celebrity friends, working on her new movie Roald Dahl’s The Witches, and loving Chris Evans as Captain America.
The Witches debuts on HBO Max on Oct. 22
Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer are experts at spotting a witch.
In a PEOPLE exclusive look at the new featurette for their upcoming adventure comedy The Witches, the two actresses along with Stanley Tucci and Jahzir Bruno give their tips and tricks on how to identifying a witch before they can execute their evil plot to kill all children.
“Here’s the thing you need to know about witches: They’re here, they’re real and they live amongst us,” Hathaway, 37, says in the clip. “They have elongated mouths that stretch to their ears.”
In the movie based on Roald Dahl’s classic 1983 book of the same name, Hathaway plays the Grand High Witch, the feared and diabolical leader of the world’s witches, who concocts a plan to get rid of the world’s children in one fell swoop.
“Witches wear long gloves up to their elbows, they don’t have hands they have claws,” Spencer, 50, says. “And they all wear wigs, and when they take the wigs off they’re bald.”
The Witches, which will skip theaters and head straight to HBO Max later this month, follows a young boy (Bruno, with an adult narration from Chris Rock) who stumbles upon a secret group of witches and, with the help of his loving grandmother (Spencer), tries to stop their evil plan to turn all the world’s children into mice.
When the town’s hotel manager, played by 59-year-old Tucci, unwittingly hosts a group of spooky-yet-glamorous witches for a convention, the young boy and his sweet but persistent grandma have to stop them before their conniving scheme to get rid of all children can go any further.
Hathaway recently told PEOPLE that playing an evil witch in the Robert Zemeckis-directed film required a lot of prep work.
“The Grand High Witch was a total collaboration between costumes, hair and make-up, the writers, my dialect coach, the effects department, stunts, [director] Bob Zemeckis and myself,” she said. “She is such a weirdo – so silly and over the top – and everyone had to work together to be on the same page so it felt big and entertaining but never too much.”
The Witches debuts on HBO Max on Oct. 22.
Witches are real, and they are everywhere! Watch the official trailer for #TheWitchesHBOMax streaming exclusively on HBOMax in the US on October 22!