Viola Davis has made history as the first black actress to win at the Oscars, Emmy and Tony Awards. The 51-year-old star picked up the Best Supporting Actress prize for her role in Fences at Sunday’s (26.02.17) Academy Awards and became one of just 22 stars to reach the feat. While Whoopi Goldberg has also achieved the honour, her Tony award was for producing.
In her speech, Viola tearfully spoke about her life as an actress as she praised playwright August Wilson for writing Fences. She told the audience at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre: “People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies, exhume those stories, the stories of the people who dreamed.
“I became an artist, and thank god I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life. So here’s to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.” And she touchingly also praised her “captain” and co-star Denzel Washington: “Oh captain, my captain. Thank you for putting two entities in the driving seat: August and God. And they served you well.”
Meanwhile, Moonlight star Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar when he picked up the Best Supporting Actor prize. The 43-year-old star hailed his career as being a “servant” as he thanked all the “teachers” in his life.
“I want to thank my teachers, my professors, my so many wonderful teachers,” he said. “One thing that they consistently told me… Ron van Lou, Ken Washington, said it wasn’t about you. It’s not about you. It’s about these characters. You are a servant. You’re in service to these stories and these characters and I’m so blessed to have had an opportunity.”
And he also praised his wife Amati Sami-Karim, who gave birth to their daughter Bari a few days ago: “Lastly, I just want to thank my wife, who is in her third trimester during award season. We just had our daughter three days ago. I just want to thank her for being such a soldier through this process and help and really carrying me through it all, so, thank you, really appreciate it. Peace and blessings.”
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