If you haven’t been watching Viola Davis as gritty law professor Annalise Keating on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, her riveting and emotional speech at the SAG Awards will make you want to tune in stat.
Accepting the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for her role on the gripping show, Davis was visibly choked up. And then, in less than two minutes, she completely blew us away.
She started her speech by sharing a sweet, personal look into her life at home.
“When I tell my daughter stories at night, a few things inevitably happen. No. 1, I use my imagination,” she said. “I always start with life and then I build from there. And then the other thing that happens is she always says, ‘Mommy, can you put me in the story?’ And, you know, it starts from the top up.”
How true! As the mother of a daughter the same age as Davis’s, I love that sentiment — little girls need women who look like them and sound like them and who are them on screen to help spark their own imaginations and envision their future stories.
The creative minds behind How to Get Away With Murder undoubtedly helped launch many dreams with Davis’s character, prompting the actress to offer up her gratitude. “So I’d like to thank Paul Lee, Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Bill De’Elia and Peter Nowalk for thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old dark-skinned African American woman who looks like me,” she said.
Her words? Moving. The raw vulnerability Davis brings to the role? Brilliant. Exhibit A, this powerful scene:
Or Exhibit B (and my personal favorite), this gut-wrenching moment when Annalise strips off the facade society expects of her. Literally.
Clearly, Davis — who won a SAG award in 2011 for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for The Help — has a wonderful knack for bringing to life characters that challenge the way audiences view outspoken women and, particularly, women of color.
In closing her speech, the actress sent out a heartfelt thanks to a few very special supporters.
“Thank you to all the people who love me exactly how God made me,” she said, “and that’s my beautiful husband, Julius, my 4-year-old daughter at home, Genesis, and my mother, Mae Alice Davis.”
We love you too, Davis, exactly how God made you — fearfully, wonderfully and completely inspiring to us all.