11 Times Viola Davis Was So Brilliant She Almost Made Us Angry
Viola Davis turned an 11-minute long appearance in the play Doubt — opposite the formidable Meryl Streep — into an Oscar-nominated performance. So, maybe it isn’t surprising that Davis comes across as transcendent in almost all of her interviews and speeches. Here are just a few of the reasons why Davis probably could get away with murder, if she wanted to.
1. She isn’t an “angry black woman” and knows Shonda Rhimes isn’t either.
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News’ Kate Aurthur interviewed Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, and Ellen Pompeo about working in Shondaland. Here is what Davis had to say about diversity in Hollywood: “And it’s interesting that you have a number of directors and showrunners out there who just have all Caucasian casts. Now, they see color. They may not tell you. And you know why they won’t tell you? Because you won’t put them to task. […] So they will continue doing what they’re doing and they’re the ones who really need to be pushed in that direction. Shonda doesn’t have the problem.”
2. She talks about her tough childhood to inspire and help kids in the same situation.
“I don’t care if it’s embarrassing. I’m 48. I understand the grand scheme of life and what’s really important,” Davis said in the September issue of More magazine. “Me saying that I grew up without food, without electricity, without running water at times? It’s a small price to pay to help kids not go hungry.”
3. She gives every role her all.
“Even when I get the fried chicken special of the day, I have to dig into it like it’s filet mignon,” Davis told New York Magazine when asked about preparing for seemingly minor roles.
4. Her role as Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder is exactly what she’s been looking for.
“You see all these walls that are held up because you’re a woman, you’re a certain age, you’re a certain hue of color. And it’s shocking that people don’t see that. You know, Look at me. I am good, I do have talent. See me,” Davis told BuzzFeed News. “So I think that it was a little bit of a shock after the Oscars that people were still saying, ‘You know, you’ve got four scenes in a movie, but you’re going to be playing opposite so-and-so.’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t care if I’m going to be playing opposite so-and-so. I want so-and-so’s role!’”
5. She doesn’t have time to care about haters.
“I don’t have any time to stay up all night worrying about what someone who doesn’t love me has to say about me,” Davis said during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. You can watch that conversation here.
6. Meryl Streep is one of her besties.
“To have her in my life and to have her as my advocate is beyond anything I could possibly imagine. I love her more than anyone could love another human being. Her heart and her spirit are just as big as her talent,” Davis told Vanity Fair.
7. She feels most beautiful when she’s at home with her daughter.
During a roundtable with Essence magazine, Davis said, “I feel my most beautiful when I’m at home, my daughter says, ‘You’re the best mommy. You’re amazing! You’re exquisite!’ And I said, ‘Genesis, that’s so sweet!’ I feel really beautiful then, I feel like she believes it.”
8. She believes in giving back through guidance and mentorship.
“I have so many young people that come to the house I can’t even count,” Davis said in a LA Times Magazine interview. “They come to L.A. feeling lost. Some want to be actors, some don’t. They just want to be somebody.”
9. She knows the power of believing in your dreams.
“What is there but a dream? You can’t trade in your dream for another dream,” Davis said when she accepted an award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2012.
10. She makes no apologies for Viola being Viola.
“I believe — unlike my mom and my grandmother and my great-grandmother — that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, truly being who you are,” Davis said while accepting the Crystal Award for Excellence in Film in 2012. “And I’ve spent far too long apologizing for that — my age, my color, my lack of classical beauty — that now at the age of… well at the age of 46 I’m very proud to be Viola Davis, for whatever it’s worth.”
11. Finally, one time Viola Davis went on Ellen and danced like this…