Viola Davis is a critically acclaimed actress of film, television, and theater and has won rave reviews for her multitude of substantial and intriguingly diverse roles. She is known for her precise, controlled performances and her regal presence. She accomplished the rare feat of winning the four major American entertainment awards, an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Davis is the sole African-American to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting, as well as the third person to achieve both statuses. Time named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012 and 2017, and in 2020, The New York Times ranked her ninth on its list of the greatest actors of the 21st century. Audiences across the globe have admired her for her work- including her celebrated, Oscar-nominated performances in The Help (2011), Doubt (2008), and her Oscar winning performance in Fences (2016). In 2015, Davis won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for her work in ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, making her the first black woman in history to take home the award. In addition to acting, Viola currently produces alongside her husband and producing partner, Julius Tennon, through their JuVee Productions banner.
Davis began her career in Central Falls, Rhode Island, appearing in small stage productions. After graduating from the Juilliard School, she won an Obie Award for her performance in Everybody’s Ruby. From there she played minor roles in film and television in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before earning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Tonya in the 2001 Broadway production of August Wilson’s King Hedley II. Her film breakthrough came with her role as a troubled mother in the drama Doubt, for which she received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress
In 2020, she portrayed Ma Rainey in the biopic Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, for which she received a fourth Academy Award nomination, becoming the most-Oscar-nominated black actress. Her performances in Widows and The Woman King earned her further nominations for the BAFTA Best Actress Award, making her the most-BAFTA-nominated black actress. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017 and became a L’Oréal Paris ambassador in 2019.
After a standout performance in 2022’s ‘The Woman King’, Viola Davis now takes the reigns again in Ben Affleck’s Air, a sports drama about how Nike signed Michael Jordan to a historic endorsement deal. Her nuanced portrayal of the basketball legend’s stoic mother has once again earned widespread acclaim.
On top of all these accolades and incredible achievements, Davis is also very involved in activism and Philanthropy work. In 2011, Davis donated funds to her hometown public library in Central Falls, to assist in preventing its closure. Davis also donated funds to her Central Falls High School, for its theater program. Since 2014, Davis has collaborated with the Hunger Is campaign to help eradicate childhood hunger across America. Davis spoke to the media on her work and stated “seventeen million kids in this country, so one in five kids in this country, go to bed hungry. I was one of those kids, because I grew up in abject poverty; I did everything that you could possibly imagine to get food: I rummaged in the garbage cans, I stole from the local store constantly.”
As an honoree at the 2014 Variety Power of Women luncheon, Davis further commented that “the thing that made me join…was the word ‘eradicate’, ‘get rid of’ – not by thirty-percent not by twenty-percent not by fifty-percent, but to do away [with it]. Because everyone should be a child, and should grow up and have a chance at the American dream”.
In September 2017, Davis started the $30K in 30 Days Project with Hunger Is, awarding a $1,000 grant to the Rhode Island Community food bank in her home state.
Next up Davis can be seen in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which is currently in post production.
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