Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer returned to her home state of Alabama this week to be honored in the State capitol city of Montgomery with a key to the city and her very own Day. This past Wednesday was officially declared Octavia Spencer Day in a ceremony on the steps of the State capitol and as you can see below, Octavia was proudly beaming from ear to ear over the honor. Click below to read more about Octavia’s special Day and see some cute photos from the event.
Octavia Spencer arrived back in her hometown riding in a pink stretch limousine and wearing a plum-colored David Meister dress. As she made her way to the front steps of the Alabama State House, the marching band from Jefferson Davis High School, her old high school, struck up the school fight song … Wednesday was Octavia Spencer Day in Montgomery, and it was the actress’ first trip home since she won the Academy Award last month for her performance as the sassy maid Minny Jackson in “The Help.” She got the day off from filming a new movie in New Orleans to be here. “I like this Octavia Spencer Day,” she said at one point Wednesday. Spencer, who now lives in Los Angeles, grew up in Montgomery, graduated from Jefferson Davis High School and attended Auburn University at Montgomery and Alabama State University before earning her degree from Auburn University. At a joint meeting of the state Legislature, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said Spencer has done Auburn University proud. “You know, former Auburn students have gone on recently to become the NFL rookie of the year, win the Pulitzer Prize, become a Rhodes Scholar, (become) CEO of Apple, the most profitable company in the world, and now win an Academy Award,” Hubbard said. “Miss Spencer, I believe that you will agree with me that’s not too bad for a land-grant university in Lee County, Ala.” Gov. Robert Bentley, who called Spencer “our favorite daughter for the day,” presented her with an Octavia Spencer Day proclamation, and Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange gave her a key to her hometown. “This is the key to the city of Montgomery,” Strange said, “but it also is the key to our hearts.” Then Strange cracked a joke about the infamous chocolate pie that Spencer’s character baked in “The Help.” “You are always welcome in Montgomery, Ala.,” he said. “But please, please leave your pies at home.”
Spencer’s visit to Montgomery was sponsored by the Legislative Black Caucus, and was made possible by state Rep. Oliver Robinson, D-Birmingham, and, especially, state Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, who hounded Spencer’s publicist to let her break free to come here. “Were it not for your tenacity and relentless pursuit … I wouldn’t be standing here today,” Spencer told Givan. The actress used her visit to campaign on behalf of a bill sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, that would expand state incentives for film companies and increase the size of film projects that qualify for them. Two days after Spencer won her Oscar for “The Help,” the House voted 101-0 for the bill, which is now in the Senate’s hands. “To the members of the Senate, I implore you to follow your counterparts in the House of Representatives and vote to bring more film revenue and film production to this great state,” Spencer said Wednesday … “Growing up in Alabama, I daydreamed about going to Hollywood, not realizing it was possible for Hollywood to come to me,” she told the members of the Legislature. “But that all changed when a little movie starring Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek called ‘The Long Walk Home’ came to Montgomery,” she added. “The experience on that film set me on the path that finds me before you all today.” Hubbard said the state lawmakers would do their part to get Spencer back in Alabama to make a movie. “We want to make sure that your next Oscar is on a film that is shot right here in the state of Alabama,” he said.
What a lovely honor … and what a great initiative to try and get more films made in the State of Alabama. I love that Octavia’s Oscar win benefits more than just her … it can benefit her home State’s economy as well. The high profileness of her win gives her the clout to speak out and lobby for these kinds of things. Her voice now carries a lot of weight and it sounds like she is using that weight to benefit the home State that she loves so dearly. This is a fantastic honor. Much love and congrats goes out to Octavia Spencer. Here’s hoping her initiative to film movies in Alabama is a successful one.