Viola Davis is very, very, very good at her job. Viola Davis is also very, very, very good at addressing issues of representation and expectation in Hollywood. Both of these elements were on display last night when the How to Get Away With Murder star collected another SAG Award thanks to Saturday’s win for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series.
Davis, who won in the same category last year, addressed the subject of diversity and the climate of #OscarsSoWhite when speaking with the press after nabbing her latest trophy. The Golden Globe winning actress noted that the issue is something much bigger than just a talking point or a hashtag:
“We have become a society of trending topics. Diversity is not a trending topic. It’s just not.” said Davis. “I’ve always considered myself an actor since I got my equity card in 1988. I’ve never put any limitations on myself. I felt like I could play Chekhov, any character in Chekhov and Shakespeare in Arthur Miller, in August Wilson. I see myself as an actor. No matter what is going on in the business, I will find a way to practice my art, and all of the actors of color who I know don’t place any limitations on themselves either. So regardless of what is going on with the Academy, regardless of what is going on in Hollywood, they will find a way to be excellent. We always have and we always will.”
Davis also took on the myth that art focusing on non-white characters are inaccessible to the audience:
“I think that sometimes people feel like stories about people of color are not inclusive,” she said. “They’re very much inclusive. I mean, the works of August Wilson, which really pretty much made my career, is everyone’s story. I mean, when you watch Annalise [on How to Get Away With Murder], she’s not just a black woman, she is a woman going through her life, you know? And I feel like people forget that in our business, we can’t act alone. You need the actor, you need the writer, you need the director, and finally you need the audience. So I’m just saying, plop your money down to see Race, to see Dope, to see Straight Outta Compton, to see Selma, do support directors like Ava DuVernay, Lee Daniels, Spike Lee, that their stories are just as valid and as important as anyone else. That’s more important than boycotting, is openness.”
How to Get Away With Murder is poised to return for another round of legal drama thrills starting on February 11.
(via The Wrap)