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The Help author Kathryn Stockett joined director Tate Taylor and actress Viola Davis to support Dreamworks co-chairman and CEO Stacey Snider as she was named to The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 list at the annual breakfast event.
The surprise hit — and one of Snyder’s riskiest calls — proved to be a huge box office success for the studio, raking in nearly $200 million worldwide. The Help, also starring Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain, is considered a frontrunner in the awards race by THR’s awards expert, Scott Feinberg.
“I feel hopeful,” Taylor told THR of the film’s awards season chances. “We all are just so overwhelmed and excited to even be a part of this. I mean, we went down to Mississippi to make this little movie that turned into the little movie that could. So everyday we just — all of us, the cast, me, the crew — we just email each other every day going, ‘Can you believe that this is still going?’ We’re just excited.”
“It’s not really me. It’s not my problem!” Stockett said with a laugh. “It’s so exciting to celebrate someone else’s success. Tate Taylor and I grew up together in Mississippi and its just so exciting to see him rising to the top.”
Davis previously earned Oscar buzz for her small, but powerful, role in 2008’s Doubt. She was nominated in the category of Best Supporting Actress, but lost to Penelope Cruz in Vicki Cristina Barcelona.
“I feel pretty good,” Davis said of the impending awards season. “I feel very proud, even separate from awards, of what we created on the screen. I think it’s been something that’s been a human experience for people and I’m really proud of that.”
Of Davis’ role, THR said in its review, “Davis’ Aibileen Clark is the epitome of deferential politeness with a “m’am” at the end of every utterance. Yet her eyes speak volumes about the pain and anger she feels. She embodies the strange contradiction experienced by many a black maid or nanny who suffers abuse at the hands of white employers yet has lavished boundless love and devotion on the 17 white children she has raised. However, bitterness has crept into her soul since the death of her beloved son.”
Also on hand for the festivities on Wednesday, Dec. 7 was Octavia Spencer, who played the scrappy best friend, Minny Jackson, to Davis’ Abileen. The actress exchanged a quick word with THR on her way into the breakfast, sharing her advice for industry up-and-comers.
“First and foremost, you have to train hard,” she said. “Whatever it is you do, you have to be the best at what you do so get into a good class, but always believe in yourself. Always believe in yourself, and there are going to be times when you don’t, but train hard.”
For her part, Snider nabbed the No. 6 spot on THR’s 20th annual list. “The movie’s resonance with audiences was more than we could have imagined,” she said, referring to the film as “one of those never-to-be-forgotten life experiences.” View her complete bio here.
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