What’s your reaction to the buildup this awards season around nominations for The Help’s Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer?
Meaningful roles in motion pictures for African American actresses are sadly scarce. We have so much talent in our community and so few opportunities to showcase it. Thus, it’s so exciting when vehicles come along with meaty, textured roles. Viola is quite simply one of the finest actresses working today and Octavia is amazing. With [Screen Actors Guild] Awards under their belts, I am crossing my fingers that these two women will be taking an Oscar home with them and solidify their rightful place in Hollywood history.
Why is mentoring so important to you?
I work hard to pay it forward. There were a lot of people that allowed me to walk through the door and I have an obligation to open the door a little bit wider for the next generation. I’m always looking out for someone great (like the next Shonda Rhimes) to help.
How do you stay inspired?
I get inspired from being around real people in real situations. Movies and TV shows are essentially about real life and life lessons. I try to keep as many friends that are not a part of this business because they are an important part of nurturing my spirit.