Octavia Spencer Receives ‘Breakthrough Award’ from Essence

Between her Golden Globe win, Oscar nomination and accolades from both critics’ associations and film festivals, Octavia Spencer has been very busy this awards season. She just got busier. Essence, which hosts the Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, has awarded Ms. Spencer the Breakthrough Award.

EW quotes Essence EIC, Constance White:

“Black women actors, writers, directors, and producers still lack diverse opportunities in Hollywood and, unfortunately, are often overlooked during awards season. . .The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon exists to provide a fitting tribute to the brilliant talent and accomplishments of African-American trailblazers like [Kerry Washington], [Pam Grier], [Paula Patton], [Octavia Spencer], and [Shonda Rhimes], and celebrate their collective work as an inspiration for generations to come.”

While it’s wonderful that Essence gives recognition to these women who have achieved great things within the white-washed Hollywood system, this feels like something of a missed opportunity to also recognize independent filmmaker Dee Rees, who wrote and directed the movie Pariah. The film received accolades from the African-American Film Critics Association, the Black Film Critics Circle and the Black Reel Awards. The film’s star, Adepero Oduye, is nominated for an Independent Spirit Award (Best Female Lead).

Pic via Deadline

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