On Feb. 26, 2017, Viola Davis won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in “Fences.”
Her work in the film opposite Denzel Washington follows a black family living in 1950s Pittsburgh. Exploring race relations at a critical time in U.S. history, the story allows us to see the world through the type of character that’s not often given the spotlight.
“I became an artist, and thank God I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life,” Davis said in her tearful speech accepting the award. “So here’s to [screenwriter] August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.”
With her win, Davis became the first black artist to receive an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony for acting.
Beyond her win for “Fences,” however, there are many, many reasons to adore Davis. She’s been a champion for women in Hollywood, a vocal proponent of diversity on the big screen, and a warrior for body positivity in the most body-conscious of industries. And let’s not forget she’s the most Oscar-nominated black actress in history.
Davis’ powerful speech on Sunday is just another reason to fall a little bit deeper in love with her: