In April 2009, she was named one of the '25 Funniest Actresses in Hollywood' by Entertainment Weekly.
Is one of 11 actresses to win the Critic's Choice Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and Oscar in the same year, winning for The Help (2011). The others to achieve this are Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich (2000), Renée Zellweger for Cold Mountain (2003), Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line (2005), Helen Mirren for The Queen (2006), Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls (2006), Kate Winslet for The Reader (2008), Mo'Nique for Precious (2009), Natalie Portman for Black Swan (2010), Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables (2012), Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine (2013), Patricia Arquette for Boyhood (2014) and Julianne Moore for Still Alice (2014).
Is one of 8 African-American actresses to win the Oscar in a competitive category. The others in chronological order are Hattie McDaniel for Gone with the Wind (1939), Whoopi Goldberg for Ghost (1990), Halle Berry for Monster's Ball (2001), Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls (2006), Mo'Nique for Precious (2009), Viola Davis for Fences (2016), and Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk (2018).
Is good friends with Melissa McCarthy.
Between 1996 and 2013, Spencer has played a nurse at least 16 different times, including in movies such as A Time to Kill (1996) and Seven Pounds (2008), as a regular on the TV show City of Angels (2000) and in guest spots on shows like Chicago Hope (1994), The X-Files (1993) and Roswell (1999).
Graduated from Auburn University.
Was the 139th actress to receive an Academy Award for one of the two actress categories, either Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress; she won the Best Supporting Actress Award for The Help (2011) at The 84th Annual Academy Awards (2012) on February 26, 2012.
Friends with Viola Davis.
In 2017, Spencer became the first Black Actress to be nominated for an Academy Award after having already won one. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for a second time in 2017.
A lifelong fan of the horror/fantasy film genre, she claims to have seen every film directed and executive produced by Guillermo del Toro.
As a dyslexic, Octavia has to learn her character's lines by acting out the gist of the dialogue.
Is a lover of antiques.
In 2017, Octavia's performance in Hidden Figures (2016) lost the Best Supporting Actress Oscar to colleague and The Help (2011) co-star Viola Davis's performance in Fences (2016).
The longest she has gone without an Oscar nomination is the 5 years between The Help (2011) and Hidden Figures (2016).
As of 2018, she has been in 3 films that were Oscar nominated for Best Picture: The Help (2011), Hidden Figures (2016), and The Shape of Water (2017). She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in all three of those films. The Shape of Water (2017) is a Best Picture winner.
Has guest-starred on the TV series "Mom" (2013) and starred in the movie "Ma" (2019). Both productions co-star Allison Janney.