BY WALTER OPINDE
Viola Davis made history at the Oscars on Sunday night, 26th February, 2017. She gave an awesome speech after winning the best-supporting-actress award for her role in Fences. Instead, as Variety reports, Davis’s triumph has actually made her the first black actor to win an Oscar, Tony, and Emmy for acting; and now, she is only one Grammy away from an EGOT.
Whoopi Goldberg, of course, is one of only 22 members of the much-revered EGOT club, and besides, she is also the only black person to have won an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy awards. But Variety notes that Goldberg’s Tony was actually for producing the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, not for acting in it. So, with her win, Davis became the first black star to nab those three awards for acting.
Following her win (and incredibly moving speech), Davis told reporters backstage that she felt ‘overwhelmed.’ She went on to say that growing up, she ‘just wanted to be good at something,’ and called all that she has accomplished as a ‘miracle of God.’ When asked what she loves about being a black woman, Davis replied, ‘Everything.’
Davis also owns an Emmy award for her work on the hit TV show ‘How to Get Away With Murder.’ Two years earlier, in 2015, she became the first black woman to win for lead actress in a drama series, and she is the first black woman to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony. She is only one trophy short of achieving EGOT status, needing a Grammy to complete the awards quartet.
Winning an Oscar for the first time in three nominations, an emotional Davis clutched her statue and saluted late playwright August Wilson, saying the Fences author ‘exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.’ In her acceptance speech, the How to Get Away with Murder actress delivered a stirring message on the diversity and lack of opportunity that women of color face in Hollywood. An excerpt from her speech said, “In my dreams, I see a line, and over that line, I see green fields, and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there anyhow, I can seem to get over that line.” The emotional Davis proceeded to say, “That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. Let me tell you something; the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is the opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply are not there.”
Both her historic win and speech were met with congratulations on social media; Kudos Viola Davis!
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