One of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents, Spencer has become a familiar fixture in both television and the silver screen. Her performance as Minny in the DreamWorks feature film The Help won her the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award and Broadcast Film Critics’ Choice Award among numerous other accolades. She has since received two additional individual Academy Award nominations and recently served as an executive producer on the critically acclaimed drama, Green Book, which won the 2019 Academy Award for Best Picture and Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
Octavia can currently be seen in the psychological thriller, Ma, in which Spencer plays the titular role and reunites with The Help director Tate Taylor. She will soon be seen starring in several upcoming film projects; Luce, an independent drama about an African teenager and former child soldier now living in a suburban neighborhood who finds himself struggling with very strong views on political violence that also stars Naomi Watts and Tim Roth; the fantasy comedy film, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle with Robert Downey Jr., Rami Malek, Emma Thompson, Antonio Banderas, and Selena Gomez; and the Disney adventure animation, Onward, alongside Chris Pratt, Tom Holland and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Spencer is currently filming The Witches, Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic book, which also stars Anne Hathaway.
Later this year, Octavia will star in the dramatic series for Apple, “Truth Be Told,” which follows America’s interest in true crime podcasts. In addition to starring in, she also serves as an executive producer via her Orit Entertainment banner alongside Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Chernin Ent / Endeavor Content. Spencer is also set to star in and executive produce a limited series for Netflix about entrepreneur and social activist, Madam C.J. Walker, which will also be executive produced by LeBron James and his production company, Springhill Entertainment. Additionally, she is set to produce the upcoming film Coffee Will Make You Black with Tate Taylor and John Norris, which stars Gabrielle Union, who will also produce through her I’ll Have Another banner and will be scripted and directed by Deborah Draper.
Spencer recently starred in Guillermo del Toro’s Academy Award-winning fantasy drama, The Shape of Water alongside Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon and Richard Jenkins. Spencer’s performance was called “marvelous” and “irresistible” by critics and she received individual Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Academy Award nominations for her role in the film. In addition to the Academy Award for Best Picture, the film received the coveted Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival, among numerous other accolades. Previous film credits include Instant Family, a comedy alongside Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne; A Kid Like Jake opposite Claire Danes, Jim Parsons and Priyanka Chopra; the independent drama Small Town Crime with John Hawkes and Anthony Anderson; Hidden Figures, the Academy Award-nominated drama that tells the true story of several African-American women who provided NASA with critical information needed to launch the program’s early successful missions and earned Spencer her second individual nominations for the Academy Awards, SAG Awards, Golden Globe Awards and NAACP Image Awards; The Shack, based off the highly successful novel of the same name; Marc Webb’s emotionally moving drama Gifted; Allegiant, for which Spencer reprised her role as Johanna in the third installment of Lionsgate’s The Divergent Series franchise; the Disney animated film Zootopia, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film; The Free World which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and also stars Elisabeth Moss and Boyd Holbrook; the drama Fathers and Daughters with Quvenzhane Wallis, Diane Kruger, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, and Aaron Paul; The Great Gilly Hopkins, the adaptation of Katherine Peterson’s young adult Newberry Award winning novel; Mark Waters’ Bad Santa 2, along with Billy Bob Thornton and Kathy Bates; Black or White, which premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival; Tate Taylor’s Get On Up, a chronicle of musician James Brown’s rise to fame that also starred Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman; the sci-fi, action-adventure Snowpiercer; the indie-drama Fruitvale Station for which Spencer was awarded Best Supporting Actress from the National Board of Review for her performance in the film; Diablo Cody’s directorial debut Paradise alongside Russell Brand and Julianne Hough, Smashed; an independent film which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Bryce Dallas Howard’s directed segment of Call Me Crazy: A Five Film; an anthology of five short films focused on various stories of mental illness; Blues for Willadean, Fly Paper, Peep World, Dinner For Schmucks, Small Town Saturday Night, Herpes Boy, Halloween II, The Soloist, Drag Me To Hell, Seven Pounds, Pretty Ugly People, Coach Carter, Charm School, Win A Date With Tod Hamilton, Bad Santa, Spiderman, Big Momma’s House, Being John Malkovich, Never Been Kissed and A Time to Kill. In 2009, Spencer directed and produced a short film entitled The Captain, which was a finalist for the coveted Poetry Foundation Prize at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.
On television, Octavia was a recurring guest star in several episodes of the hit CBS comedy, “Mom” as Regina, a fellow AA member of Christy’s. She made a memorable guest appearance in the final season of “30 Rock,” starred in the Comedy Central series “Halfway Home” and appeared in a five-episode arc as the character Constance Grady on the hit series “Ugly Betty.” Additional television credits include “The Big Bang Theory,” “E.R.,” “CSI,” “CSI: NY,” “Raising the Bar,” “Medium,” and “NYPD Blue.”
Among her many other professional achievements, Spencer has co-authored an interactive mystery series for children called Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective. The first title in the series, Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit was published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing in Fall 2013 and the second book, Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: Sweetest Heist in History followed the next year.
Spencer is a native of Montgomery, Alabama and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University. She currently resides in Los Angeles.