The 'Hidden Figures' actress called for more diversity after receiving the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award on Thursday.
Octavia Spencer will be contending for her second acting Oscar next month, but the Hidden Figures and The Help star says her dream role is actually on the other side of the camera.
“My dream role is that of a producer, a woman behind the scenes who creates roles for diversity in film,” Spencer said in a Q&A session Thursday after accepting the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award at Harvard University. “And when I say diversity, I mean I want to see women of all shapes and sizes, people of all shapes and sizes, people with disabilities. It’s about creating a landscape that demonstrates what our society is as a whole.”
Capping a day of irreverent festivities that included a parade through the streets of Cambridge and a celebratory roast, Spencer called for increased dialogue about the importance of inclusion onscreen.
“As a female who’s African American, who is also a producer, it’s my job to make sure I voice those opinions,” she said. “And women also have to ask for what they want. Sometimes they’re going to say no, but all we need is one yes.”
Asked about her thoughts on Mary Tyler Moore, the iconic actress who died Wednesday at age 80, Spencer praised her as someone who “changed the face of how we view women, and how we view independent women. It’s definitely a loss for the entertainment community as well as the public at large because she shaped a generation of independence. She will definitely be missed.”
At one point the conversation turned to Donald Trump and his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway. Of Trump, Spencer said, “We have a new president, and I’m waiting for him to demonstrate that he will be the president of all of us, of these United States.”
Of Conway, Spencer added, “She’s a woman, and she needs to understand why women are speaking out in fear of some of the rights we’ve already litigated now being revisited. That is a big question mark for a lot of us.”
Watch Spencer’s full Q&A above.