‘I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are’ – Emotional Speech by Viola Davis at the Critics’ Choice Awards


It’s hard to accept being a role model for women when you’re trying to lose weight.

I’ve always discovered the heart of my characters, I guess, by asking ‘Why?’ “When I was handed Annalise Keating, 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. 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.

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.

Thank you so much … for having the courage and the vision to bring August Wilson to the screen.

But most importantly: the leader, the captain, Denzel Washington, who said the two scariest words an actor can ever hear: ‘Trust me.’

Usually that’s because you can’t trust a lot of people with a performance in this business. But we trusted you, you delivered as a leader and you’ve made us proud and most importantly, you’ve made August proud. Thank you very much.