updated 01/24/2012 AT 10:35 AM ET
•originally published 01/24/2012 AT 1:00 PM ET
Octavia Spencer woke up to some delightful news: The breakout star of The Help is up for Best Supporting Actress at this year’s Academy Awards, it was announced early Tuesday.
“It’s numbing!” Spencer, who won a Golden Globe for her role as Minny Jackson in the film, told PEOPLE of her nomination. “There were no guarantees. I didn’t think I was in it and then they said my name and it was just a sigh of relief.”
Once it sinks in and she has time to congratulate fellow nominee Melissa McCarthy – “I’m just going to call her and do a drive-by today,” she says. “I’m thrilled for her!” – Spencer, 42, will have some decisions to make about what to wear on her big night.