Spencer is an actress from Montgomery, Alabama. She is best known for her role as Minny, the outspoken maid in the 2011 film The Help, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, among other accolades including a Golden Globe Award, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Award. From September 2014 until February 2015, she starred on the Steven Spielberg Fox television series, Red Band Society. Released in January, 2015, Spencer starred alongside Kevin Costner in drama film Black or White. In 2016, she received Golden Globe and SAG nominations for her performance as mathematician Dorothy Vaughan in the comedy-drama Hidden Figures.