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Viola Davis Biography

Birth Name:
Viola Davis
Birth Place:
Saint Matthews, South Carolina, United States
Profession
Actor

Fast Facts

  • Introduction to acting came in her teens during her time with Upward Bound, a program that assists low-income students in graduating high school and enrolling in college; Davis continues to support the organization as a speaker, role model and cofounder of an endowment fund
  • Traveled to Africa when awarded a scholarship in 1981 to study the role of art in native cultures
  • Made her feature-film debut in 1996's The Substance of Fire
  • Has worked several times with director Steven Soderbergh, including the films Out of Sight (1998), Traffic (2000) and Solaris (2002)
  • Received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree in 2002 from Rhode Island College, her alma mater
  • Consulted with her mother frequently about her mom's experiences working as a maid to help create the backstory for Aibileen, Davis' character from 2011's The Help
  • Named to the 2012 TIME 100, a list of the 100 most influential people in the world
  • Only the 10th performer to win a Tony Award and an Academy Award for the same role, for her work in Fences

Awards

  • 2021Golden Globe-Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: nominated
  • 2021Independent Spirit Awards-Best Female Lead: nominated
  • 2020Oscar-Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: nominated
  • 2020Critics' Choice Awards-Best Actress: nominated
  • 2020Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: winner
  • 2020Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: nominated
  • 2019BAFTA Film Awards-Best Leading Actress: nominated
  • 2019Emmy-Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: nominated
  • 2018Emmy-Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: nominated
  • 2017Emmy-Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: nominated
  • 2017IFTA Film & Drama Awards-Best International Actress: nominated
  • 2017BAFTA Film Awards-Best Supporting Actress: winner
  • 2016Emmy-Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: nominated
  • 2016Golden Globe-Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama: nominated
  • 2016Oscar-Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: winner
  • 2016Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: nominated
  • 2016Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: winner
  • 2016Critics' Choice Awards-Best Supporting Actress: winner
  • 2015Golden Globe-Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama: nominated
  • 2015People's Choice Awards-Favorite Actress in a New TV Series: winner
  • 2015Critics' Choice Television Awards-Best Actress in a Drama Series: nominated
  • 2015Emmy-Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: winner
  • 2015Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: winner
  • 2014Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: winner
  • 2012Golden Globe-Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: nominated
  • 2012Critics' Choice Movie Awards-Best Actress: nominated
  • 2012BAFTA Film Awards-Best Leading Actress: nominated
  • 2011Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: winner
  • 2011Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: winner
  • 2011Detroit Film Critics Society-Best Actress: nominated
  • 2011Oscar-Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: nominated
  • 2009Golden Globe-Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: nominated
  • 2009Critics' Choice Awards-Best Supporting Actress: nominated
  • 2009Critics' Choice Awards-Best Acting Ensemble: nominated
  • 2008Oscar-Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: nominated
  • 2008Dallas/Fort Worth Film Critics Association-Best Supporting Actress: winner
  • 2008Alliance of Women Film Journalists-Best Supporting Actress: winner
  • 2008Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: nominated
  • 2008Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: nominated
  • 2008National Board of Review-Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: winner
  • 2008Vancouver Film Critics-Best Supporting Actress: nominated
  • 2008Houston Film Critics-Best Supporting Actress: winner
  • 2008St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association-Best Supporting Actress: winner
  • 2008Southeastern Film Critics Association-Best Supporting Actress: nominated
  • 2003Independent Spirit Awards-Best Supporting Female: nominated

Relationships

  • Genesis -- Daughter
  • Dan Davis -- Father
  • Mary Davis -- Mother
  • Deloris Grant -- Sister
  • Dianne Wright -- Sister