When The Help came out earlier this year, it quickly became the movie to see. Excellent performances, a great script based on Kathryn Stockett’s best selling novel, and a glimpse into the South and the great domestic divide between privileged white homemakers and the black women who raised them. At a luncheon last week at Desmond’s, Montego Glover, Nikki James, Anna Deveare Smith, and Billie Jean King celebrated the film’s happy arrival on DVD with two of the stars, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, who got up to answer questions about the film. Set designers Rena DeAngelo and Mark Ricker were also on hand to explain how much of the film’s antique look came from flea markets.
Another guest, Andre Leon Tally, made sure to invite the fashion crowd to an exhibition he curated from an idea by Oscar de la Renta, “Joaquin Sorolla and the Glory of Spanish Dress” at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute.
Viola Davis, a sublime actress who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Doubt, and received a Tony for her work in the 2010 revival of Fences on Broadway, co-star with Denzel Washington. Expect a Best Actress nomination for her in The Help. She also appears in Stephen Daldry’s soon-to-be released Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Well, I know about nominations, she said ruefully and then grounded the talk, “In the end, it’s the work.”