Viola Davis Is One Of Only 7 Black Women Since 1929 To Win An Oscar - Congratulations!
Finally, the woman wearing the red dress, the woman who has had a world wind of a year so far has won an Oscar for her performance alongside Denzel Washington in Fences.
She won for the role of Best Supporting Actress joining Hattie McDaniel, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Hudson, Mo’Nique, Octavia Spencer and Lupita Nyong’o as one of only seven black actresses to have won the same award since 1929.
After thanking the Academy, Davis launched into her emotionally charged speech.
“There’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place—and that’s the graveyard,” she began.
“People ask me all the time, ‘What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?’ And I say, ‘Exhume those bodies, exhume those stories—the stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost.’ I became an artist and thank god I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”
In addition to honoring the film’s late screenwriter, she thanked the producers—including her costar, Washington.
“Oh captain, my captain; Denzel Washington, thank you for putting two entities in the driving seat: August and God. They served you well.”
She capped off the stunning speech with kind words to her parents, Dan and Mary Alice, whom she describes as “the center of my universe. The people who taught me good or bad, how to fail, how to love, how to hold an award, and how to lose…I’m so thankful god chose you to bring me into this world.”
By the time she left the stage, there was barely a dry eye in the auditorium—a fact that was duly noted by host Jimmy Kimmel. “Viola Davis, she just got nominated for an Emmy for that speech, it was so good,” he cracked.
Davis’ win was praised by Jessica Chastain, her costar in 2011’s The Help. Chastain was nominated for Best Supporting Actress herself for the film (she lost to costar Octavia Spencer).
“She’s a woman who sacrificed a huge part of her dreams, her needs, and her desires to make her family work,” Davis told EW about the character. “And when everything comes crashing down, her response, her fight, is every woman’s fight. There’s nothing that she does in this piece that is not relatable.”