For her role in the movie Fences, Viola Davis won the 2017 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress on Sunday night with a passionate and beautiful speech. This is the actor's first Oscar win and it is so well-deserved. "I became an artist and thank God I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life," Davis said during her speech, in which she thanked her co-star and Fences director Denzel Washington, as well as her family.
In Fences, Davis plays Rose, who is the wife of Troy (Washington) and endures the strained relationships among her family members. The film is based on the play by August Wilson, which was performed by Washington and Davis in the same roles on Broadway back in 2010 — and they both won Tony Awards that year. Davis paid tribute to Wilson, who died in 2005, in her speech, saying his stories are among the ones she wants to tell. "You know there's one place where all the people with the greatest potential are gathered — and that's the graveyard," she said. Davis continued:
People ask me all the time, 'What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say I want to 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... so here's to August Wilson who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.
Davis also referring to Washington as "Oh Captain, My Captain," which is a reference to the famous Walt Whitman poem of the same name. Her speech was so iconic as soon as she delivered that Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel joked later on that Davis' speech was so good that she was nominated for an Emmy for it.
Watch Davis' speech for yourself in the video below.