Viola Davis was honored at Sunday’s Critics’ Choice Awards with the show’s first-ever #SeeHer Award. During her acceptance speech, Davis opened up about how she’s learned to accept herself.
“I’ve always discovered the heart of my characters, I guess, by asking ‘Why?'” Davis shared. “When I was handed Annalise Keating [in How to Get Away With Murder], I said, ‘She’s sexy, she’s mysterious.'”
“I’m used to playing women where I’ve got to gain 40 pounds and wear an apron,” she continued. “So I said, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to lose weight. I’ve got to learn how to walk like Kerry Washington in heels. I gotta lose my belly.’ And then I asked myself, ‘Well, why do I have to do all of that?'”
“I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, and I just recently embraced that at 51,” Davis added. “I think my strongest power is that at 10 o’clock every Thursday night, I want you to come into my world. I am not going to come into yours. You come into my world and you sit with me, my size, my hue, my age, and you sit and you experience. And I think that’s the only power I have as an artist, so I thank you for this award.”
Davis also took home an award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences.
Davis had nothing but praise for her celebrated co-star, who also directed the adaptation, and shared her gratitude with him in her tearful and heartfelt acceptance speech, calling Washington “the leader and the captain” of their powerful film.
“[He] said the two scariest words that an actor can ever hear, which was ‘Trust me,'” Washington recalled. “Usually that’s because you can’t trust a lot of people with a performance, in this business. But we trusted you and you delivered as a leader. You made us proud and most importantly, you made August proud.”