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Viola Davis on the Prospect of Becoming the Most Nominated Black Actress in Oscars History



• 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. But this record 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. 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.”

• There’s a larger picture at play when it comes to who gets nominated for what.
"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 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. [...]It is like having a fabulous body, but not having the right clothes to show it off.”

• Reforming the system at large. “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.”


Black Actresses:
Viola Davis : 3 noms / 1 win
Octavia Spencer : 3 noms / 1 win
Whoopi Goldberg : 2 noms / 1 win
Cicely Tyson : 1 nom / an honorary oscar

Younger White Actresses
Jennifer Lawrence : youngest person to earn four nominations at age 25.
Saoirse Ronan : second-youngest to earn four nods at age 25.
Kate Winslet : (7 noms) youngest actress to reach five noms at age 31.

Older White Actresses
Jodie Foster, Renee Zellweger, Holly Hunter, Diane Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren, Annette Bening and Michelle Williams : 4 noms
Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Jane Fonda and Glenn Close (could pull an 8th nom for “Hillbilly Elegy") : 7 noms
Meryl Streep, the most nominated actress in the history of the Academy Awards : 21 nods



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Tags: actor / actress, award show - academy awards, black celebrities, viola davis
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