Viola Davis is easily toward the top of my list of favorite actresses, especially as a Black actress in Hollywood. It’s even more concrete considering that she’s a Grammy away from becoming an “EGOT” (someone who’s won an Oscar, Tony, an Emmy, and a Grammy). While Whoopi Goldberg has coveted EGOT status, Viola is the first to win 3 out of 4 of these awards for her acting prowess (Whoopi earned her Tony for producing a stage play).
Through the course of her career, each role got bigger while the characters became more robust and powerful.
From the beginning to now, here are eight of my favorite roles that not only earned Viola Davis numerous awards and a Hollywood star, but a legacy that everyone is bound to remember.
1. Eva Mae Fisher in Antwone Fisher
I don’t think I truly appreciated her talent like I do currently. Nevertheless, her role was phenomenal and she gave us a forewarning of the talent she would bring to later projects.
2. Mary St. Matthews in Madea Goes to Jail
This one is where I fell in love with her badassery. Her character helps prostitutes by helping them get jobs if they are ready to leave the streets or by supplying clean items for their lifestyles. Her strong attitude knew no mercy or sorrow, only moving forward, which is how she helped Derek Luke’s character ‘Josh’ who felt he was responsible for his friend’s ‘Candy’ played by Keisha Knight Pullman, direction in life.
3. Mayor April Henry in Law Abiding Citizen
Davis once again showcased that badass, can’t-tell-me-shit attitude as she tried to get back control over her city from a killer who was constantly killing judges and police officers as he was locked up in prison. Talk about one of the biggest plot twists in film, at least in my opinion!
4. Aibileen Clark in The Help
Even as the help, Davis’ character never flinched instead, she put privileged white women in their place.
5. Susie Brown in the biopic Get On Up
I loved this movie because of Chadwick Boseman, but Davis, despite not being on camera as much, was just as powerful a presence in the movie.
6. Amanda Waller in DC Comics Suicide Squad
Once I saw these two on the roster, the movie couldn’t come out soon enough. Responsible for putting together ‘Task Force X’ with some of the worst criminals at her disposal, she showed no mercy, fear, or weakness. That some boss ass moves!
7. Rose Maxson in the film adaptation of the play by August Wilson, Fences
I’m just going to say it, I love when Viola Davis snot cries. Hey, it got her an first Oscar! Maybe other actresses need to take notes. Once again, she played that type of woman I adore because even after her husband confessed to his infidelity and illegitimate child, she stayed and even helped raise his daughter. What kind of woman these days would do that on a whim? Not too many. Though the film was set in a time where things like that were common, Davis definitely sold the role.
8. Annaliese Keating in How to Get Away with Murder, better known as my weekly obsession
This one has to be one of my favorite roles out of all the roles Viola Davis has played. All the past roles were just an appetizer leading up to this main course. We get multiple murders, lies thrown in each and every direction, infidelity, trust and loyalty being questioned, lives being toyed with, and the saddest of all, losing one of the main characters. That’s just the first three seasons!
Davis plays one hell of a strong-can’t-be-broken-have-the-answers-to-all-life-problems-it’s-my-way-or-the-highway powerhouse lawyer. Though in season three, that’s when fans seen Keating at her lowest—that didn’t last long. She bounced back quicker than the judges could make up charges.
Davis is set to star in Widows, slated for release in 2018, alongside Michelle Rodriguez, Daniel Kaluuya, and Colin Farrell. Before then, the fourth season of HTGAWM premieres on September 28th so fans will have that to tide them over until her new projects are released. With the way her career is going, there’s sure to be many more achievements.