'The Help’s' Allison Janney talks Oscar buzz
December 8th, 2011
10:09 AM ET

'The Help’s' Allison Janney talks Oscar buzz

“We either thought we’d be crucified or we’d be great,” “The Help’s” Allison Janney said of how the cast expected people to receive the film.

But “great” is just the beginning. “The Help,” which was released on DVD Tuesday, raked in more than $168 million domestically.

And now, with the Academy Awards looming, Oscar buzz is in the air.

"We’re all hoping that you see ‘The Help’ up there in some of the [categories],” Janney told CNN. “Best screenplay. Best director. Some best actresses in there, too - Viola [Davis], Octavia [Spencer].”

Janney, who plays Skeeter’s (Emma Stone) mom, Charlotte Phelan, in the film, is no stranger to nurturing roles.

“I’ve played a lot of mothers in my life,” she said. “I don’t even have kids. I have dogs! But I guess I had a mother, and she had a mother, and I know a lot of mothers,” she joked.

Still, Charlotte was a different character for Janney.

“Mothers see things for their children that sort of blind them to what their children really want,” she said. “Charlotte is very guilty of that. … I don’t know if you’d call her a racist, but she was a product of her environment. She wasn’t a bad person, she just didn’t know better.”

Despite a daughter and 1960's backdrop, Janney said Charlotte and Prudy Pingleton, her character in 2007’s “Hairspray,” have nothing in common.

“[Prudy] is Charlotte on acid,” she joked.

Charlotte is a dynamic character, who, thanks to writer Kathryn Stockett’s additions to the story, becomes a better person in the end, Janney said.

“You forgive her,” she added.

“She’s a woman who’s changing, and accepting change and being graceful about it. That’s my favorite part.”

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. deb

    The book was fantastic and the movie was wonderful.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. HelpME

    While I loved the film, the book was better – BECAUSE the mother character didn't "change" and BECAUSE that is realistic – we love our mothers (and fathers) sometimes IN SPITE of what they believe in, how they treat us, or others. That is what being a family is all about. That was one of the disappointments in the film for me – it was all too tidy.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mormon

    That looks pretty close to being an "o" face!

    December 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Zup

    "Prudy is Charlotte on acid", lol !

    December 8, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |

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