The Help

21 Feb

‘The Help’ is up for 4 Academy Awards: Actress in a Supporting Role (2), Actress in a leading role, and Best Picture.

Actress in a supporting role– There are two women nominated in this category: Octavia Spencer, and Jessica Chastain. Spencer played the role of Minnie Jackson, a woman who became the help in Celia Foote’s (Chastain) household after leaving Hilly Holbrook’s (Bryce Dallas Howard). Spencer’s character was a charasmatic woman full of attitude who was tired of being trapped in the role of the help. Once she started sharing her stories, there was no stopping her. Her emotional, yet uplifting hilarious portrayal of a part of the help in the 1960’s really made the film (one story in particular but I won’t ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen it). Jessica Chastain’s character Celia Foote was a very bubbly, hopeless housewife. She hired help without her husbands knowledge so that he would think she was the perfect housewife who could do it all (cook, bake, clean). Her and Minnie Jackson quickly became friends as Minnie helped her not only through her duties as a housewife, but also her personal life struggles. Chastain’s character is one you can’t help but love and root for against the other housewives. Both of these women had outstanding performances and deserve this Oscar; but I believe Octavia Spencer is more likely to win.

Actress in a leading role– Viola Davis is up for the Oscar for her role as Aibileen Clark. Aibileen was the first out of the help to agree to share her stories with Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone). She wanted to tell the whole without holding anything back because she believed the truth, in some way, would set her free. She had a strong connection with the white children she raised, always telling them ‘you is kind, you is smart, you is important’. She took on the role of the mother while the white wives went about their days. Her strong, yet emotional portrayal as the help really gives us viewers an idea of what they went through and the everyday struggles they dealt with in the 1960’s. All of the nominees in this category are extremely talented women so it’s really hard to have an idea who will win, but Viola Davis certainly deserves this chance for an Oscar.

Best Picture– ‘The Help’ is definitely one of my favorite nominated in this category. This movie speaks the truth about segregation in the 1960’s- All the housewives trying to be perfect for their husbands, and all of the help trying to keep their mouths shut while they dealt with daily emotional, and at times physical abuse. It’s hard to believe this was the reality only a short-time ago…

The movie is about a 23 year-old aspiring writer Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) in the 1960’s who was raised not by her mother, but by her family’s help. She decides to attempt writing a story from the help’s point of view; but getting someone to volunteer their time and stories would prove to be difficult. They didn’t want to get in trouble, sent to jail, etc. It was against the law for them to work with a white woman in hopes of working towards racial equality. When one woman Aibileen Clark (Davis) decides to share her stories anonymously, others start to realize that if they want change they are going to have to do something about it. As the movie goes on, more volunteer to share their stories of feeling trapped and owned by these white households. This movie is emotional, yet more-so uplifting and genuine. I hope this film walks away from Sunday nights Academy Awards with at least a few Oscars because it, and the people in it who told the story so well, definitely deserve it. A must watch!

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