The third time was a charm for Viola Davis who won best supporting actress at Sunday’s Oscars for her role as Rose Maxson in Fences.
Davis, the current star of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, had been nominated twice before for 2008’s Doubt and 2011’s The Help. This time, she was able to overcome a very talent-heavy nomination group that included Naomie Harris for Moonlight, Nicole Kidman for Lion, Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures and Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea to get her first Oscar win.
“You know, there’s one place that all the people with great potential are gathered. One place … and that’s the graveyard. 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. So here’s to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.”
Wilson is a two-time Pulitzer winner and playwright who wrote Fences, and is nominated posthumously for the film that also stars Denzel Washington.
Following her speech, Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel joked that the tear-filled, emotional speech from Davis was “just nominated for an Emmy.”