'Hidden Figures' star Octavia Spencer: Adversity can inspire greatness

Octavia Spencer on adversity

Oscar-winning The Help star Octavia Spencer is already flourishing this awards season. She has Golden Globe and SAG supporting nominations for her role in the Christmas movie Hidden Figures, about a trio of black female mathematicians who had distinguished careers at NASA beginning in the early 1960s. It costars Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe.

Spencer, 46, tells Variety that Donald Trump's election represents a blow against civil rights. "There's a line that Janelle's character has in the movie: 'Every time we move forward, they keep moving the finish line,' " Spencer says.

But Spencer believes true creativity can flourish despite adversity. "These women lived in du jour segregation, de facto misogyny, and blatant racism. And in spite of that, they rolled up their sleeves and did something extraordinary for the world."

Cry for Justin, Argentina!

Justin Bieber is about to launch the South American leg of his tour, but he may have to skip his biggest fan base: Argentina. A Buenos Aires judge has indicted the Bieb for allegedly ordering his posse to beat up a photog in a 2013 incident in the Argentine capital, says TMZ. If Bieber sets foot in the country, he could be arrested. Bieber's attorney plans to appeal.

As I lay gossiping

Denis Villeneuve plans to follow his string of hits - including Arrival and Sicario - and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (set for an October 2017 release) with a reboot of Frank Herbert's Dune. Variety says there's word the Québécois is in talks to tackle the notoriously difficult stories of David Lynch's uneven '84 screenplay for the film. . . . Val Kilmer this month denied he has cancer. Now, the National Enquirer claims the Top Gun star has a terminal illness. Kilmer has not released a statement. . . . Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) is making an animated film called Isle of Dogs featuring every A-lister in the world: Edward Norton, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Frances McDormand, Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Courtney B. Vance - and, yes, even Yoko Ono. . . . Robert Sepulveda Jr., who stars on Logo and VHI's gay love-match show Finding Prince Charming, recently fessed up he was once an escort. Now, he wants to raise awareness of the plight of sex workers, says TMZ, with a $50 calendar featuring pics of other escorts. Proceeds will go to the Sex Workers Project.

tirdad@phillynews.com

215-854-2736