Viola Davis: biography
Viola Davis is a theater and movie actress, the winner of several prestigious awards, including Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild and Oscar.
Viola is also known as a theatrical actress who has made considerable progress in Broadway productions, and as an actress who fully fulfilled her role in the cinema proved her talent both to the audience and to the community of film critics. The actress’s awards and the worldwide popularity prove it, although Davis has won everything step by step.
The theater and film actress Viola Davis was born on August 11, 1965, in the American town of St. Matthews. She was the fifth of six children of the horse trainer Dan Davis and maid Mary Alice. Viola did not turn a year when the family moved to Rhode Island. Their financial situation left much to be desired as the children had to wear clothes of the older siblings, and the toys were a rare thing in the family.
The children thought up entertainment, they often played small scenes with fictional characters. Subsequently, Viola Davis developed this hobby in the school drama studio. The talented student even gained a scholarship.
Viola entered the University after graduation from the college in 1988. Academic years were productive and she got an honorary Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2002. She improved her acting skills at the Juilliard School in New York. Davis gained valuable experience there that helped her to develop her skills in the future.
The first actress’s success in her biography is associated with theatre. In 2001, she won the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her role in the play King Hedley II.
Three years later the Broadway production Intimate Apparel again brought the actress a victory in the Drama Desk Theatrical Award. In 2010, Viola Davis received her second Tony statuette for participation in the play Fence.
Viola Davis’s first steps in filming were in 1996. She played in the film by Daniel George Sullivan The Substance of Fire, where the actress played a nurse. Since then, it seems that she was followed by cameo roles.
Viola acted in numerous television projects, but she did not get serious proposals from directors. The exception was Steven Soderbergh. He invited the actress to play in the thriller Out of Sight. Working with Soderbergh, Viola also played in Traffic and Solaris. The latter brought the actress a long-awaited success. The director made the screen version of Lem’s novel, but with some adjustments to the plot. Instead of the male astronauts, the audience saw a woman and Viola played her.
This change is seen in the further roles of the actress. Viola Davis often plays the roles of strong-willed heroines, who hold positions that were considered only male a decade ago. There are military officers, politicians, police officers, FBI agents, and super-spies among her roles.
She played the nameless police officer in the romantic comedy Kate & Leopold, FBI agent Carol Barrett in the spy detective Blackhat, detective Parker in the youth thriller Disturbia, Major Gwen Anderson in the fantastic drama Ender's Game and many others strong heroines.
The actress did not refuse from small roles. So, her filmography added World Trade Center, The Architect, Get Rich or Die Tryin, Disturbia. Viola played 8-minute episode in the detective drama Doubt by John Patrick Shanley. However, it was a breakthrough role for the actress. Critics gave her work high praise, and in 2009, Viola for the first time in her career was nominated for the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards as the Best Supporting Actress. Although in both cases her colleagues won the Awards, it was a significant breakthrough of Davis in Hollywood.
Each role brought the actress greater popularity, however, the real triumph and glory came in 2011. Then the film The Help was released on the screen where Viola Davis appeared in the main role of a black maid Aibileen Clark. Her character served in the house of white people and tried to fight with the racial prejudice that existed in America of the 1960’s. This role was very important to Viola because being a schoolgirl she faced similar stereotypes and discrimination.
Viola Davis won the Screen Actors Guild Award for two consecutive years for participation in the drama series How to Get Away with Murder as the Best Actress. This work brought her the Emmy statuette in 2015. It was a milestone event in cinematography because she became the first black woman to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Viola Davis played the role of attorney and professor Annalise Keating at the Middleton University. According to the plot, Annalise teaches students the discipline “How to Get Away with Murder”. This is just a theoretical lesson, but a killer appears on the campus, and students quickly have to learn how to apply the knowledge in practice.
The series showed high ratings and after the end of the first season it was extended to the second, and then to the third. In February 2017, official information was received from ABC television channel that How to Get Away with Murder would have the fourth season, and the premier would be in March 2018.
Viola Davis married quite late, at the age of 37. Her husband is actor and producer, Julius Tennon. The wedding was held on June 23, 2003. The man is 11 years older than Viola. At the time of their marriage, he already had two children from a previous marriage.
Since 2011, the couple has been bringing up adopted daughter, Genesis Tennon. In 2016 Viola Davis appeared in the top 50 most powerful moms (according to Working Mother magazine). It happened also thanks to the official Instagram page of the actress, where Davis has already over 2 million subscribers.
Viola Davis now
In 2016, the fantastic action film Suicide Squad of David Eyre appeared on the screens. The film with Viola Davis has elements of comedy. The actress did not get the role of the squad member, who was forced to become a superheroine villain, but Davis got the role of Amanda Waller, an intelligence agent with a steel will and an iron heart.
It is Viola Davis’s heroine who comes up and implements a cruel plan to use a group of dangerous criminals as cannon fodder on missions with a high degree of risk so that the squad serves the government of the United States of America.
This film did not bring the actress prestigious awards, and the action film was even nominated for the anti-prize Golden Raspberry, but nevertheless the film paid off at the box office, received a number of positive reviews from the audience, and entered the DC Extended Universe, a fandom based on the famous comics of the company.
In 2016, the actress played the major role in the film Custody. The film tells about the sitting in the courtroom where a woman desperately struggles for custody over the children.
In 2016, the actress also received the role of Rose Maxson in the drama Fences. This movie is based on the play under the same name by August Wilson. In 1987, that work got the Pulitzer Prize, and the script was written by Wilson, who managed to adapt the play to the movie format before his death.
The film tells about the fate of a family of African Americans from the working class who are trying to lead a decent life and provide their own family in the 1950’s of the last century in the United States. The main male role in the film was performed by Denzel Washington, who also acted as director of the film.
In 2017, Viola Davis received the Oscar in the category "Best Supporting Actress" for her role in the film Fences. This role brought her a victory at the Golden Globe-2017 in a similar nomination. And the film Fences was included in the list of ten best films of 2016 according to the version of the American Film Institute.
- 2001 – Providence
- 2001 – Kate & Leopold
- 2003 – Hack
- 2005 – Get Rich or Die Tryin
- 2007 – Disturbia
- 2009 – Law Abiding Citizen
- 2010 – It’s Kind of a Funny Story
- 2011 – The Help
- 2013 – Prisoners
- 2013 – Ender's Game
- 2011 – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
- 2014-2018 – How to Get Away with Murder
- 2015 – Blackhat
- 2016 – Suicide Squad
- 2016 – Fences