Many pundits thought it was foolish for Disney to release a socially important movie such as The Help during the heat of the summer movie season. Experts believed that the film would be forgotten come Oscar time. How wrong they were as The Help scored four Academy Award nominations including Best Picture.
Oscar Watch, Movie Fanatic’s daily look at all things Academy Awards, shines the spotlight today on The Help and the little movie that could and its triumphant march to the Kodak Theatre on awards night -- February 26.
The Help is based on the book by Kathryn Stockett that is beloved by tens of millions. Star Viola Davis had sought out the book's rights as soon as she read it, only to discover it was already owned by Tate Taylor. Lucky for her and those legions of fans, Taylor was keenly aware of the book’s elements that most resonated and brought the magic of it to the screen as screenwriter and director -- with Davis as Aibileen Clark.
If you haven’t seen the film yet, it is a cinematic triumph in the portrayal of the power of the human spirit. It is a must-see for every soul on the planet. Movie Fanatic honored it with its appearance on our Top 10 Movies of 2011 and its Best Picture nod is hardly a surprise -- it is wholeheartedly deserved.
Whether it wins or not we shall see, but it warrants serious consideration. The Descendants and The Artist seem to be fighting for the trophy, and if they split the vote, perhaps The Help could slide in. Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain are one-two favorites, respectively in the Best Supporting Actress category and Davis is battling Meryl Streep as one of the two actresses who should win the Best Actress trophy.
All told, The Help is not only a film that shines with its box office success in 2011 and awards triumphs in 2012. This is one of those rare films that deserves to be heralded for decades to come as it is a piece of work that transcends years and award seasons.
According to star Bryce Dallas Howard, in our exclusive interview, even if the film wins no awards, the actresses involved and their shared experience making the movie is all the accolade needed. "It literally could not have been a more supportive group of people and creative group of people. In terms of our approach, we were all really on the same page in terms of our methodology. It was really kind of fantastic," Howard said. "You can’t strive for that in every movie because you never know. I just came from lunch with everybody and [laughs] we just have so much fun together. It’s a really, really great group."