Viola Davis Wins Her First Oscar for Best Supporting Actress
Believe it or not, Viola Davis just won her first Academy Award. The fact that Davis won for her tour-de-force performance in Fences is far from surprising, but the fact that it took Academy voters this long — the woman’s been working for 21 years and has been nominated three times — to give her the award that’s long had her name on it is pretty shocking.
Sure sure, Denzel Washington is the director and star of the August Wilson adaptation, but Fences is Davis’ movie. (She’s technically the lead actress, but Supporting was the most sure shot Paramount had at getting Davis an Oscar.) She shreds everyone in her path each moment she’s on screen, whether with her snot-infused tears and screams, or her icy glances. It was sweet that fellow Best Supporting Actress nominees Michelle Williams, Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer, and Naomie Harris even showed up; they all gave stellar performances, but this was clearly Davis’ year. Her win also makes her the seventh black actress to win for Best Supporting in Oscars history.
But we all know why we really tuned into the Oscars broadcast tonight: Davis’ speech. She gave an incredible acceptance speech at the Globes last month (where she also secured her first win), and a fiery introduction to Meryl Streep’s speech, and tonight was no exception. Davis gave an eloquent, moving speech about what inspires her most as an artist — exhuming the dead and bringing their stories to life. It was truly beautiful, and if you were moved by it and haven’t yet seen Fences, I can assure you there is far more where that came from.