People.com talked with Viola’s stylist Elizabeth Stewart about why they chose the color white and the process that went into Viola’s look for last night’s Oscars.
The star’s Oscar nomination for her performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom broke her own record as the most nominated Black actress ever at the Academy Awards
Viola Davis showed off high-fashion gowns from the comfort of her home throughout award season, but for tonight’s Academy Awards, she brought her bold style aesthetic to the red carpet.
While the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom nominee, 55, has been leaning into bright colors throughout the season, she went back to basics at the Oscars, wearing a flowing white Alexander McQueen gown with a cutout bodice design and Forevermark diamond drop earrings on the red carpet in Los Angeles.
Stylist Elizabeth Stewart told PEOPLE that they specifically chose white since everyone was expecting Davis to wear color, sharing that the beaded gown was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.
“I could wallpaper my living room with her beautiful sketches, each more beautiful than the last. Viola loves her work and we had dreamed over the years about asking her to make a dress,” Stewart said of Burton. “Viola’s only direction was white, but she saw the beading technique on the runway in a black top and asked for that to be worked in.”
The stylist also revealed that what looked to be skin-baring cut-outs on the red carpet were actually an illusion: “It’s actually a corset dyed to match Viola’s skin tone, achieved by trying about 20 swatches and also with the help of her makeup artist Autumn Moultrie, who gave the atelier makeup base colors she uses on Viola,” she explained. “The skirt is a very light chiffon to offset the heavy beading of the corset top.”
Davis kept her makeup look natural to give a luminous, glowy effect while rocking her natural coils in a pompadour-style up-do.
“Viola’s dress is always my inspiration for the look,” said makeup artist Autumn Moultrie, who used L’Oréal Paris skincare and makeup on the star. “We wanted the look to be soft and sophisticated, but also dramatic. That’s why I went with a soft lip but a dramatic bold and metallic eye.”
Before any award show, Davis likes to create a serene environment in her home as she gets ready with her glam squad and family by her side.
“We have music playing in the house before everyone gets here. It used to be R&B classics. Now it’s the Calm App,” Davis told PEOPLE when discussing her new L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara campaign.
“There are diffusers and candles in every room. All the windows [and] the shades are drawn down so the light is coming in. And I always have some kind of new food for them to try. Last time [for the NAACP Image Awards] it was keto bread. That’s how we start,” the actress continued.
She also uses soothing aromatherapy scents to calm her mind before the rush of a red carpet.
“I even spray the Le Labo room spray because there is something about all those scents that it is [like] aromatherapy. Sometimes you attach it to an emotion,” Davis said. “It literally can just immediately relax you. So we have all that going on before we even sit down.”
Luckily, the serene vibes carried over onto the Oscars red carpet. “If people were here they would know how absolutely groundbreaking calm is!” Davis laughed during an interview with E! before the award show.
Davis has been keeping it bright and colorful throughout awards season, wearing a multicolor printed Lavie By CK for the Golden Globes that “spoke to her as a Black woman.” And chose an electric green hue for her custom Louis Vuitton column gown as a symbol of positivity at the SAG Awards.
“The brightness and color is symbolic. It provides motivation and hope towards a better future,” her stylist Elizabeth Stewart told PEOPLE.
Davis’ nomination in the Best Actress category for her performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom marks her fourth Academy Award nomination, which broke her own record as the most nominated Black actress ever at the Oscars. She first earned the honor in 2017 when she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences. She went on to win in that category, marking her first Oscars win.
The Rhode Island native, who overcame an impoverished childhood to become one of Hollywood’s most respected stars, earned her first Best Supporting Actress nomination in 2008 for Doubt, and a Best Actress nomination in 2011 for The Help.
Unfortunately Viola did not win last night, but she looked fabulous as she presented! Our first event pics in a while! LOVE her white gown designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The gown had a cutout bodice design and Forevermark diamond drop earrings. She looked stunning! I don’t know about you, but I have missed this gorgeous lady on the red carpet!
Viola Davis Online > EVENTS And APPEARANCES > 2021 > April 25 | Academy Awards
Viola Davis Online > EVENTS And APPEARANCES > 2021 > April 25 | Academy Awards – Ceremony
Viola Davis Online > EVENTS And APPEARANCES > 2021 > April 25 | Academy Awards – Backstage
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.