Viola Davis' Oscars Acceptance Speech Was Just As Moving As We've Come To Expect

"People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?"

When Viola Davis won Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards on Sunday night for her performance in the film Fences, we knew we were in for a fantastic acceptance. The actress has become almost as acclaimed for her powerful speeches as she is for her winning performances on the stage and screen. 

In 2015, for example, Davis made history as the first Black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role on How to Get Away With Murder. She spoke about the importance of opportunity for people of color in the entertainment industry.

So it's no surprise that Davis accepted her first Oscar with an eloquent and moving speech that addressed the power of art to tell stories of ordinary people:

"You know, there's one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place, and that's the graveyard," she began. "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 big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. 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 [Fences playwright] August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people," she continued, before thanking her co-star Denzel Washington by declaring, "O Captain! My Captain!"

Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel joked afterward that Davis had just won an Emmy for her acceptance speech. 

This win marks another history-making moment for Davis, as she becomes the first Black actress to win an Emmy, Oscar, and Tony for acting. (Whoopi Goldberg also has all three, as well as a Grammy, but her Tony was for producing.) In 2010, Davis won the Tony for playing the same role of Rose Maxson in the Broadway revival of Fences — also alongside Denzel Washington.

If Davis wins a Grammy, she could become the 13th person in history to achieve the coveted "EGOT," winning all four major awards.

Watch Viola Davis' full Oscars speech in the video below:


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