The 2012 Academy Award nominations were announced Tuesday morning. Even with Hollywood’s history of scant nods for African-American performers, two snagged nominations this year. Viola Davis, was nominated for best actress for her role as Aibileen Clark in The Help. Her co-star, Octavia Spencer received a best supporting actress nomination for the same film.

Davis was previously nominated in the best supporting actress category for her role in Doubt in 2008. Davis is just the second black actress to score more than one Oscar nomination in her career (Whoopi Golberg was the first). This year she will be up against actresses Glenn Close, Rooney Mara, Meryl Streep, and Michelle Williams.

This is the first nomination for Spencer, who received rave reviews for her turn as the outspoken Minny Jackson in The Help. She was nominated for and won the Golden Globe Award for the role.

Follow Donovan X. Ramsey on Twitter at @idxr