Viola Davis is the rare exception to this rule, which has dominated both the stage and screen. Her whole life her family lived in dismal conditions, including a phone or hot water, and she was raised in far-off Rhode Island. The latter of which continues to feed her today.
Davis recalls seeing Cicely Tyson at the age of eight, who she could only imagine as her. She continued to pursue her craft in high school, from her minor yet significant role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent to her powerful and starring role in the crime series How to Get Away With Murder and now The Woman King.
Let's take a look at some of Viola Davis' best performances, shall we?
Mrs. Miller, Doubt (2008)
Davis plays a small, but crucial role in John Patrick Shanleys Doubt, a film about Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), the warm and charming priest at the school, who begins to suspect that Father Flynn, the school's first black pupil, is engaging in an inappropriate relationship with Donald Miller.
Aibileen Clark, The Help(2011)
The Help, a screenplay by Kathryn Stocketts with a screen adaptation by Tate Taylor, is a meticulous examination of the 1960s Mississippi civil rights movement as seen through the eyes of the Black maids who are subjected to increasing discrimination and racism, as well as Aibileen (Emma Stone), the young writer who interviews maids in an effort to expose their harsh treatment and personal stories.
Abby Black, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close(2011)
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a beautiful moving drama set a decade after the most horrifying terrorist attack on the United States. Oscar first meets Abby (Davis) as a depressed lady searching for his own answers.
Nancy Birch, Prisoners (2013)
Prisoners is a high-stakes thriller that follows the disappearance of two young girls on Thanksgiving and their parents' brutal quest to bring them back home. Nancy Birch is portrayed in a thick layer of humanity as she tries to relate to and reason with the perpetrator of the mysterious crime.
How to Get Away With Murder, by Annalise Keating (2014-2020)
How to Get Away with Murder, which was created by Peter Nowalk and produced by Shonda Rhimes, is a legal thriller series that stars Davis as Annalise Keating, a brutally strict law professor who applies her real-life experiences as a criminal defense attorney to her classroom work. The students discover that the most respected and respected woman on campus may not be the trustworthy and honorable woman she claims to be. Davis has won an Emmy and a SAG award for her performance.
Susie Brown, Get on Up(2014)
Get on Up, a 2014 funk-filled biopic directed by Tate Taylor and directed by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, follows the storied childhood and fame of legendary performer James Brown (Chadwick Boseman). Davis is the focus of the film, which depicts Brown's abused and lonely mother, who is able to convey his convictions without causing harm or harm.
Rose Maxson, Fences (2016)
Fences is a story about coming to terms with your past and wondering what might have been. August Wilson, who also directed the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, follows Troy Maxson (Washington) as he struggles to maintain his wife Rose (Davis) and the rest of his family on a working class salary. Rose takes a lifelong burden on his resilient shoulders as she holds a firm grasp on her dark reality.
Veronica Rawlings, Widows (2018)
Widows is a story about four Chicago women who reluctantly join together to pay the debt their corrupt husbands left behind. Davis portrays Veronica, the headstrong leader who pulls the other widows out of their uniquely dysfunctional lives in order to finish what her husband started. From start to finish, Davis combines her conviction and heartbreak with a dont-mess-with-me attitude.
Miss Rayleen, Troop Zero(2019)
Troop Zero, a family drama starring Lucy Alibar, was written and directed by Bert and Bertie (who both directed the Marvel series Hawkeye). Davis plays Miss Rayleen, the uninteresting secretary of Christmas father Ramsey (Jim Gaffigan), who works out of his trailer. She reluctantly accepts the role of troop leader and attempts to assist them in becoming familiar with the aliens.
Ma Rainey, Ma Raineys Black Bottom(2020)
Ma Raineys Black Bottom, an Oscar-nominated musical period drama, examines the world of blues, religion, and race over the course of a hot afternoon. Based on August Wilson's play of the same name, the film follows influential blues singer Ma Rainey (Davis) and her controversial interactions with experienced members of a jazz band during a recording session in 1927 Chicago. Davis's physical and emotional transformation has aided in her ability to articulate her truth without being rushed. With one glance
Liz Ingram, The Unforgivable(2021)
The Unforgivable is based on Nora Fingscheidt's British limited series Unforgiven. Ruth visits the old house, which is now owned by John (Vincent DOnofrio) and Liz Ingram (Davis) who later learns about Ruth's past. Davis' authentic performance reminds us of the power of acceptance.