Awards: Can Octavia Spencer Resurface in Best Supporting Actress for ‘Luce?’

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Earlier this year, the racial drama “Luce” made waves out of the Sundance Film Festival. It received praise for its multi-faceted screenwriting and acting ensemble. Out of all the cast, though, lead actor Kelvin Harrison, Jr. and especially Octavia Spencer received the most rapturous praise.

In “Luce,” Spencer plays Harriet Wilson, a history teacher who views the title character as her star pupil. However, after reading a disturbing essay Luce wrote for class, she becomes suspicious of his squeaky clean image. Harriet suspects him of foul play and confronts his adoptive white parents (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) in the process.

Having won an Oscar for “The Help” and received subsequent nominations for “Hidden Figures” and “The Shape of Water,” Spencer has respect within the Academy. Her performance as Harriet is career-best work and arguably more challenging than the roles she’s previously been cited for. Spencer walks a continuous line between psychopathy and affinity as the concerned teacher.

Spencer has the reviews and pedigree to be a Supporting Actress contender. She’s had a banner year with “Luce” and the horror film “Ma” which she turned into a sleeper hit. It’s just a matter of getting voters to remember her brilliance. In addition to “Luce” being an August release, it was a commercial underperformer, grossing under $2 million domestically. Because the film’s awards hopes might hinge entirely on Spencer, that could be another hurdle.

But, as previously mentioned, her industry stature could help her contend. As of now, we have her ranked ninth in what is a rather fluid Best Supporting Actress field. Despite the film’s poor financial showing, Spencer could earn an Independent Spirit Award nomination to keep her in the conversation. If critics groups cite her in their respective yearly awards, that should be an added benefit.

Do you think Octavia Spencer could contend in the Best Supporting Actress race? Please share your thoughts!

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