'The Help' thesp recognized for breakthrough performance

Octavia Spencer will be honored with the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs Film Festival. Spencer will receive the award at a gala on Jan. 7.

“Octavia Spencer is a consummate actress who seamlessly blends her dramatic and comedic talents, creating performances of uncommon depth,” said chairman Harold Matzner.

Being recognized in Palm Springs represents another strategic step toward a potential supporting actress Academy Award nomination for Spencer, whose role in “The Help” has earned her awards buzz since the film’s debut this summer. The well-timed festival, which runs Jan. 5-16, occupies a key spot in awards season because it takes place when Golden Globe and Oscar voters still have ballots in hand.

Previously announced honorees include George Clooney, Glenn Close, Michel Hazanavicius and Michelle Williams.

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