On Sunday, it’s widely expected that The Artist will walk away with the Best Picture Oscar®. However, I believe many have underestimated the power of The Help, which, in my opinion, could be the one to unseat the silent, black & white frontrunner. There’s been some doubt whether The Artist deserves the win, just being the most “liked” of the many “liked, but not loved” films in contention. But with The Help being overlooked in the adapted screenplay category and for Best Song for Mary J. Blige, “The Living Proof,” it seems many have forgotten the incredible story this film tells.
Set during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the story of The Help unfolds when an aspiring writer (Emma Stone) decides to write a book from the point-of-view of the African-American maids working for all white families in Jackson, Mississippi. She gets help, no pun intended, from maids Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson – played by Oscar® nominees Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, respectively. The result of the book is the exposure of the daily hardships and prejudices these women endured, setting the stage for a long road to equality.
What The Help contains is an amazing complexity and depth, built around the lives of men and women of both narrow and free thinking minds. This is a subject we still deal with in modern society, but none of us could imagine what it was like during the era in which these women lived, working and fighting to give their families, and the children they helped raise, a good life.
Joined by Octavia Spencer, director Tate Taylor, who should be walking the red carpet as a double nominee in my opinion for both adapting and directing friend Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling book, sat down with the real women who lived through the circumstances portrayed in the film. To hear their stories gives new meaning to what this film accomplished by being made with such great talents behind the wheel.