Viola Davis Explains Her Emmys Speech Inspiration & Admits A Little Liquid Courage Helped
I think I speak for a lot of us when I say the 2015 Emmy Awards were the best edition of the ceremony ever. As you'll remember, Viola Davis made history by becoming the first black woman to win the Lead Actress in a Drama trophy for her role in How To Get Away With Murder, and oh, was it glorious. Not only was it a well-deserved honor for Davis and her incredible acting skills, but it also meant so much to the black community, which has been underrepresented and certainly gone without the recognition it deserves in Hollywood for way too long. After giving a legendary acceptance speech and taking home her gold statue, Davis stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday to discuss her amazing night and what inspired her words on stage.
Davis told DeGeneres that she "sort of" prepared for the possibility of a win, even if she didn't actually expect it. If her name was actually called, she wanted to use the opportunity to say something important that would be remembered and make an impact while reflecting how she felt about her career in Hollywood and the struggles the black community has faced there and elsewhere. No one was prepared for the profound words she would speak when she stepped on stage, however — not even her husband!
"I did want to mark the fact that it was the first African-American to win in the Lead Actress category. I love that Harriet Tubman quote, I thought it was so progressive and I started it, and my husband said afterwards: 'V, I didn’t know where you were going with that. I really didn’t. When you were saying those white women with their arms stretched out over the line I was like what is she doing?'"
Hilariously, Davis also admitted that she'd had a few glasses of Prosecco before the ceremony, and who could blame her? Awards shows are notorious for celebrities letting their hair down and having a good time, and what better occasion? Davis couldn't resist having a glass while getting ready for the big event as her 5-year-old daughter was trying on her Neil Lane jewelry. She also hit up some McDonald's french fries on her way home, so you know she's got good taste. Ugh, it seems like everything she does makes me love Viola Davis even more.
Davis was, of course, correct in what she said during her Emmys acceptance speech: there needs to be more roles created for women of color (or more women of color being cast in roles that traditionally go to white actresses) in order for black women to be nominated for these awards to begin with. Davis' win is just the first small step in what I hope is a huge overhaul of the industry, and I'm so pleased to be able to celebrate her victory.
Watch a clip from Viola Davis' interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show below:
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