*Oscar winner Octavia Spencer on Thursday paid homage to Mary Tyler Moore and talked about her inspiring film roles while receiving her Woman of the Year award from Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals.
Fresh from her nomination for a second Oscar, the actress participated in the obligatory parade through the streets of Cambridge, Mass., followed by a roast and the presentation of her pudding pot.
“That pot was hard to get,” she joked when asked how it compared with an Academy Award. “It was difficult to get, but it was one that will be forever indelibly etched in my memories. This has just been so much fun today.”
Spencer won a best supporting actress Oscar for her role as Minny Jackson in 2011’s “The Help.” She was nominated Tuesday in the same category for “Hidden Figures,” where she played one of several black women instrumental during the early years of the NASA program.
The actress said she was moved by the fans who called her an inspiration Thursday.
“That really touches my heart because I have the luxury now of getting to choose … the characters that I play,” she said. “One of the things that I like to do is choose movies … that will allow for a little escapism but also educate while entertaining, and I think Hidden Figures does that on so many levels.”
Remembering Mary Tyler Moore, Spencer said the TV icon who died Wednesday, changed “how we view women, and how we view independent women.”
She added, “It’s definitely a loss for the entertainment community as well as the public at large because she shaped a generation of independents and she will definitely be missed.”
The Hasty Pudding award has been handed out annually since 1951 to people who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment.