Viola is featured in the April issue of British Vogue magazine and looks stunning!
‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“You’re beautiful, you’re worth it, you’re absolutely right exactly as God made you. Because I spent too many years thinking I was worthless and not pretty enough, good enough or anything enough.”
Who is your favourite party plus-one?
“My husband, Julius Tennon. I know he has my back, I know he’s not a plus-one just because he wants to get to the party, and he makes me laugh. I sort of love him, you know?”
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 26, 2021
Nominated again this year, Davis joined co-host Cathy Schulman, onetime president of the organization, for the gathering that celebrated all the female nominees in the Oscar race.
Oscar party season is here — virtually, anyway.
Last weekend, Women in Film Los Angeles hosted its 14th annual Oscar Nominees party which featured 52 female nominees from in front of and behind the camera gathering on Zoom to celebrate. Toasting with Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker, the virtual hang saw guests logging on from South Korea, Italy, England, Chile, Spain, France, Tunisia, Israel, South Africa, Mexico and various parts of the U.S.
They even gathered for the traditional “class photo” (seen above), that, in a year not dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, would have been taken in person at a packed soiree in the Beverly Hills area in the days leading up to the Oscar telecast. The virtual event was co-hosted by Oscar-winner Viola Davis — nominated this year as best actress for her turn in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom — along with Oscar-winning producer and former WIF board president Cathy Schulman.
Among the nominees in attendance: Mollye Asher (Nomadland); best supporting actress nominee Maria Bakalova, (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm); producer Ceán Chaffin (Mank); best supporting actress nominee Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy); best actress nominee Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday); multiple nominee Emerald Fennell (director, picture and original screenplay) for Promising Young Woman; producer Ashley Fox (Promising Young Woman); H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas, up for best original song for their work on Judas and the Black Messiah; best actress nominee Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman); producer Christina Oh (Minari); Laura Pausini and Diane Warren nominated for best original song for The Life Ahead; and best supporting actress nominee Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari).
In all, the party honored all 72 women, in front of and behind the camera, who are up for Academy Awards this year. The ceremony is scheduled for April 25.
Here are some beautiful images from the W Cover shoot that Viola did with her family! Such great pictures! She just glows when she is with her family! You will love them!
NAACP Image awards winner shares advice to those starting out in Hollywood and also reveals what it was like meeting Former First Lady Michelle Obama after agreeing to play her for the series “The First Lady.”
Warner Brother’s has FINALLY released the new Suicide Squad Red Band Trailer!
#TheSuicideSquad in theaters and streaming exclusively on HBO Max August 6, 2021.
Here is the one only available on YouTube.com:
Viola Davis talks about her film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, her role in the upcoming film The Suicide Squad and how she feels about playing Michelle Obama in an upcoming series.
Viola and her family are featured in the new directors issue of W Magazine.
Davis, her husband, Julius Tennon, and their daughter, Genesis Tennon, bring to life King’s domestic tableau for W’s annual Directors Issue.
Anywhere, U.S.A. That’s where this family of three finds itself, in the backyard of a modest American home. It could be Los Angeles, Detroit, or New York. You can almost hear the sounds of DeBarge or Maze featuring Frankie Beverly—the quintessential track list for any Black family’s reunion, cookout, or lazy weekend afternoon. The fact that the star of these photos is the Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe–winning actress Viola Davis almost doesn’t register. Instead, we see a classical portrait of Black American life.
That was director Regina King’s intention when she orchestrated, with the photographer Andre D. Wagner, the images you see here. King began crafting the story months ago by watching old interviews of her friend Davis, in which she could hear “the pain as well as the beauty in the bruises” in her delivery. With her timeless appeal, Davis embodies King’s idea of what she terms Black Americana. “I don’t think any of us are particularly happy with the state of America, but we still embrace the fact that we are Black Americans, even with all of the things that have happened in history,” King told me.
Congratulations Viola! So proud of you and so deserved!
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day, United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
With her critically acclaimed performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Viola Davis is primed to become the most nominated Black actress in Oscars history. Though Davis’ name (and her rousing acceptance speeches) has become synonymous with the very notion of awards season, the celebrated actor is quick to point out the reality that this record is one that should’ve been set long ago.
“For me, it’s a reflection of the lack of opportunities and access to opportunities people of color have had in this business,” she says. “If me, going back to the Oscars four times in 2021, makes me the most nominated Black actress in history, that’s a testament to the sheer lack of material there has been out there for artists of color.”
Davis currently shares the record for the most nominated Black actress in the history of the Academy Awards, tied with close friend Octavia Spencer with three nods apiece. Both women have a supporting actress trophy at home (Davis won in 2017 for “Fences,” while Spencer won in 2012 for “The Help”).
The only other Black actress with multiple Oscar nods is Whoopi Goldberg, who has been recognized twice, nominated for best actress in 1986 for “The Color Purple” and winning the best supporting actress prize in 1991 for “Ghost.” The late Cicely Tyson earned an Oscar nod in 1972 for “Sounder” and an honorary Oscar in 2018.
Of the awards season maelstrom, Davis says, “I have to make it mean something. I do. If I just saw it as a moment for me to sort of puff up my own ego, I think that that would last for 10 seconds or less. It’s a platform. It’s another microphone. It’s another opportunity to open my mouth and speak a really fundamental truth about Hollywood and this business, and, really, America.”
Of course, this year’s ceremonies will inevitably be different, as they unfold amid the ongoing pandemic. There are logistical questions about what sort of hybrid virtual and in person broadcasts might take shape, but Davis is hopeful that the award season landscape will change in a more significant way.
“It’s always great to have the escapism of friendly competition, but at the end of the day, there are a lot deeper issues going on than whether we’re going to have the Oscars, or the Golden Globes, or the SAG Awards in person or virtually,” she says. “My fantasy is that people, that artists, understand that there is no separation with what we do, and what’s going on in the world. I’m actually really excited to see how that takes shape — how people speak their truths, even in their acceptance speeches, how they deal with getting golden statues and what they do with their power now.”
In evaluating the awards season, Davis points out that there’s a larger picture at play when it comes to who gets nominated for what.
“Am I grateful that I absolutely have gotten to that point in my life after everything that I’ve been through, and my path, my journey? I’m very grateful for that, extraordinarily so. But I just can’t express enough how important it is to lead a life of vision and purpose,” Davis says. “The conversation that no one is having, the sort of cognitive discussions that people are not having is the process to getting there — the tools and the access that was given to these artists, in order to get to a place where their work can be seen.”
She explains: “When you start having those conversations, you see what a huge deficit and huge discrepancy is still out there for artists of color, which is why a lot of times we don’t have a seat at the table. It’s not because we don’t have the talent, it’s not because we’re not working hard. It’s because of fundamental truths that we are not given the same permission, tools and everything that we need to even start on the same level, or to be on the same playing field.”
“There are a lot of white actresses out there, who are fairly young — in their 20s or 30s, who have been to the Academy Awards just as many times as me or more than me,” the 55-year-old star continues. “It is a reflection of their talent — but it’s also a reflection of their opportunities. That’s what it is. It’s a reflection of how they had the chance — those three, four or five roles that were so good that brought them to that place. [Being a Black actress] is like having a fabulous body, but not having the right clothes to show it off.”
In evaluating the number of nominations for contemporary actresses, for comparison’s sake — in 2016, Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence set a record as the youngest person to earn four nominations at age 25. In 2020, Saoirse Ronan became the second-youngest to earn four nods; she was also 25, but a few months older than Lawrence was at the time of her fourth nomination. Oscar-winner Kate Winslet (who currently has seven nods) was the youngest actress to reach five nominations; she was 31 when she was recognized for 2006’s “Little Children.”
Oscar winners Jodie Foster, Renee Zellweger, Holly Hunter, Diane Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Emma Thompson and Helen Mirren have also earned four nominations each, as have perennial nominees Annette Bening and Michelle Williams. Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, and Jane Fonda all have seven nods, while Glenn Close could pull ahead of her contemporaries with an eighth nomination for “Hillbilly Elegy.” The most nominated actress in the history of the Academy Awards is (Davis’ friend and “Doubt” co-star) Meryl Streep, with a seemingly unmatchable 21 total nods.
In terms of finding solutions to Hollywood’s disparities, Davis has taken the reins into her own hands when it comes to her career. Davis formed her JuVee Productions banner, with husband Julius Tennon in 2011, to create more opportunities for herself and other creators of color to tell more authentic and progressive stories and to challenge the status quo when it comes to representation of Black people onscreen.
But as far as reforming the system at large, Davis offers this: “Two things need to happen. People who are on the periphery need to not be so frightened that they’re going to lose the opportunity, that they don’t open their mouth and speak their truth. And the people who are in a position of power need to listen and to have the bravery and the courage to step out of their comfort zone and make those changes.”