After the Academy Award nominations, Viola Davis has become the most nominated Black actress in Oscars history after receiving another Best Actress nod.
Her latest nomination is for her performance in the lead role in Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, her fourth nomination from the most acclaimed awards body in the film industry. Davis previously won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2017 for Fences, after being previously nominated in the same category in 2009 for her role in Doubt.
Davis has previously been nominated for Best Actress on one more occasion in 2012 for her portrayal as maid Aibileen Clark’s in The Help. Whilst her role in the aforementioned film landed her an Oscar nomination, Davis has since spoken openly about why she regrets appearing in it and how she “betrayed” herself.
“The white audience at the most can sit and get an academic lesson into how we are. Then they leave the movie theatre and they talk about what it meant. They’re not moved by who we were,” Davis said.
Davis and Octavia Spencer had both been on three Oscar nominations, but Davis’ latest nod takes her above Spencer. If she wins the award, Davis will become the only Black woman in history to win multiple Oscars and only the second Black woman to win the coveted Best Actress Oscar. Halle Berry previously won Best Actress back in 2002 for Monster’s Ball.
Ahead of the nomination, Davis said to Variety: “For me, it’s a reflection of the lack of opportunities and access to opportunities people of colour 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 colour.”