The Help, the best-selling novel turned blockbuster movie, just received four nominations from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
The SAG nominations are among the first major honors on the long road to the Academy Awards and The Help leads the pack with four nods.
It’s evident that America fell in love with this film—or at least enjoyed debating about it. From the vivacious characters to the intriguing story line about race, class and gender, The Help grossed nearly $200 million worldwide making it a bona fide summer hit.
Centered during the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s in Mississippi, the film depicts an all star cast of strong Black woman who offer insight into their lives as maids to help an aspiring White writer. They tell it all… the good, the bad and the unforgettable.
Although awards seasons is just beginning, there is already buzz that supporting actress Octavia Spencer may receive a much deserved Oscar nomination for her role as Minny Jackson. Reportedly, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah and Mo’Nique all auditioned for the part which has earned Octavia a supporting actress SAG nomination.
Octavia isn’t the only The Help actress to be recognized. Viola Davis, who portrayed Aibileen Clark in the film, is up for best actress. The Help’s Jessica Chastain (played the role of Celia Foote , Minny’s fun-loving boss) also received a nod for supporting actress.
While many praised Viola and Octavia’s acting in the film, The Help left others sour.
Ida E. Jones, the national director of the Association of Black Women Historians, released an open statement criticizing The Help. The letter stated that "despite efforts to market the book and the film as a progressive story of triumph over racial injustice, The Help distorts, ignores, and trivializes the experiences of Black domestic workers."
The group of scholars accused both the book and the film of insensitive portrayals of African-American vernacular, a nearly uniform depiction of Black men as cruel or absent, and a failure to acknowledge the sexual harassment that many Black women endured in their White employers’ homes. Ida concluded by writing that "The Association of Black Women Historians finds it unacceptable for either this book or this film to strip Black women’s lives of historical accuracy for the sake of entertainment."
The SAG Awards will be presented Jan. 29.
Watch Octavia discuss The Help on "Anderson" below.
What did you think of ‘The Help’? Did it hurt or help the image of Black women? Leave your comments below.