African-American actresses who paved the way in Hollywood

8. Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer is one of two black actresses, the other being Viola Davis, to have received three Academy Award nominations, and she is the only black actress to receive two nominations in a row. Spencer is a veteran in the film and television Industry, dating back to 1996 when she was Roark’s nurse in Joel Schumacher’s A Time To Kill.

The Montgomery, Alabama native's most successful film to date was her role in The Help in 2012. She won an Academy Award, British Academy Film Award, Golden Globe Award, Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild Award for her role as Minny Jackson.

Spencer is the first black actress to be nominated for an Academy Award after already winning one. She is currently nominated for her third Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role as Zelda Fuller in The Shape of Water.

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