Happy Birthday Octavia Spencer! A Look Back At Some of Her Most Memorable Roles

In addition to being Memorial Day, Monday also marks Octavia Spencer's birthday. The Academy Award winning actress has turned 45 years old. Though Spencer is best known for her role as Minny Jackson in the 2011 critically acclaimed film The Help, the actress is a Hollywood veteran who has had roles in films and on television for nearly 20 years. Despite the fact that she had been working steadily in the entertainment industry since the early '90s, the 45-year-old first garnered major attention and critical praise for her small role in the 2008 Will Smith-driven film Seven Pounds. Three years later, her role in The Help earned her an Academy Award, and solidified her place as a top actress in the industry.

Though Spencer's role on the now-canceled Red Band Society was short-lived, she hasn't let that slow her down. Spencer has co-authored a children's book series entitled Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective, for which she is currently doing a book tour. She also has several major projects coming up, including The Shack, where she will co-star with Sam Worthington, as well as Fathers and Daughters, a film whose cast is bursting with A-listers. What better way to celebrate Spencer's birthday than to highlight some of her best work?

Here are seven of Spencer's past films that have really showcased her incredible acting skills, and I hope there will be many more to come.

1. Seven Pounds (2008)

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Though Spencer's role as Kate was a small part of Seven Pounds, she was so incredible that studios and critics praised her and began giving her the attention that she deserved.

2. Fruitvale Station (2013)

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Based on a true story, Fruitvale Station follows 22 year old Oscar Grant III on his last day of life before he is brutally gunned down by a police officer. Spencer plays Wanda, Grant's mother, who is absolutely gutted by her son's death.

3. Insurgent (2015)

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Spencer played Johanna, the head of the Amnity faction in Insurgent, the squeal to the YA Divergent thriller. Though Johanna is wary of Four and Trice when they arrive in her faction, she shows them kindness and provides them shelter.

4. Black or White (2014)

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In Black or White, Spencer stars as Rowena Jeffers opposite Kevin Costner. The duo play grandparents fighting over custody of their biracial grandchild. The heartbreaking drama discusses issues of race, loss, and addiction. Spencer shines as Jeffers, a woman who is desperate for a connection with her granddaughter.

5. Get On Up (2014)

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Get On Up follows the life of the "Father of Funk" James Brown, from his heartbreaking childhood to his remarkable rise to fame. Spencer stars as Aunt Honey, Brown's mother figure after his biological mother abandons him. Though Honey is willing to take the young boy in, she doesn't baby him. Instead, she puts him to work, making it his job to get customers to her brothel. Though she isn't an ideal mother, Spencer embodies a woman who knows the importance of survival.

6. The Help (2011)

In The Help, Spencer plays Minny Jackson, a maid living in segregated Jackson, Mississippi. Minny becomes one of the subjects of a book exposing the racist and horrific practices of white families against the women who keep their homes and raise their children.

7. Paradise (2013)

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Spencer shined in Diablo Cody's directorial debut, Paradise, as Loray. Though she's a bit cooky, Loray is a fully fleshed out character who is just as pivotal in the film as the main protagonist.