Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
A working actress for well over a decade, with credits including "Being John Malkovich," "Spider-Man" and "Ugly Betty," Spencer could have gone an entire career without a serious breakthrough. Lucky for her, and lucky for us, that longtime friend Tate Taylor insisted Spencer was the only choice to play scene-stealing Minny in his film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's bestselling novel "The Help." Now she's a Golden Globe and SAG nominee, with a likely Oscar nom on the way.
What's next for Spencer: Prominent supporting roles in "Juno" writer Diablo Cody's untitled directorial debut (opposite fellow 2011 breakthrough Julianne Hough) and "Smashed," with Aaron Paul and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, set to premiere at Sundance in January.