Actors’ Spotlight #51: Viola Davis

Viola Davis June 2015.jpg

Viola Davis (born August 11, 1965) is an American producer and actress of stage, screen, and television. After graduating from the Juilliard School in 1993, Davis began her career on stage and won an Obie Award in 1999 for her performance as Ruby McCollum in Everybody’s Ruby. She played supporting and minor roles in several films and television series in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including the films Kate & Leopold (2001) and Far from Heaven (2002), and the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2001, she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Tonya in the original production of King Hedley II.

Davis’ film breakthrough came in 2008 when her supporting role in the drama Doubt earned her several nominations, including the Golden Globe, SAG, and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Greater success came to Davis in the 2010s. She won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role as Rose Maxson in the revival of August Wilson’s play Fences. For her lead role as 1960s housemaid Aibeleen Clark in the comedy-drama The Help (2011), she received nominations for the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and the Academy Award for Best Actress, and won a SAG Award. In 2016, Davis played Amanda Waller in the superhero action film Suicide Squad and reprised her role as Rose Maxson in the film adaptation of Fences, for which she has won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for the role, making her the first black actress to receive three Academy Award nominations.

Since 2014, Davis plays lawyer Annalise Keating in the ABC drama How to Get Away with Murder, and in 2015 she became the first black woman of any nationality to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Her portrayal also won her two SAG Awards in 2015 and 2016. In 2012, she was listed by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Davis and her husband, Julius Tennon, are the founders of the production company JuVee Productions. Davis has starred in their productions Lila & Eve (2015) and Custody (2016).

Being in the business for over 20 years and just this year, becoming the first African American woman to receive three Academy Award nominations, Viola Davis has always been a favorite among many who have seen her work over the years.

But like most actors, Davis has had her fair share of bad movies to her credit and here are 5 of those movies:

5. Nights In Rodanthe

Wow, what a generic and forgettable mess, oh wait, it’s a Nicholas Sparks movie, of course it’s going to be that. Davis only has a small role in this but the overall movie is just so bland and predictable.

4. Blackhat

A boring, boring movie, I expect better from Michael Mann than this dullfest, nothing of interest happens here, this makes hacking seem like the most dullest thing in the history of the world. How funny that Mr. Robot a few months after this came out would actually make it cool again.

3. Knight & Day

Wow, Viola Davis has been in some bad generic movies, hasn’t she? She plays the CIA director in this and she just seems lost in this like she wasn’t given a lot to do in this because the movie was mainly focused on Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz.

2. Eat Pray Love

An offensively bad portrayal of women based off a bestselling novel, this whole movie basically says that you should get rid of everything you have no matter how good you got it and go explore the world and it’s just like “come on, man.” This movie sent women back 20 years and if it was actually directed by a woman, I’d probably let it slide a little bit but no it’s directed by Ryan Murphy, who lost a lot of integrity once he did stupid shit like Glee & Scream Queens….but thank god he did American Horror Story and American Crime Story so he got some of that integrity back.

and the #1 worst Viola Davis movie is…

Won’t Back Down

What’s worse than a movie that’s a big letdown? A movie that’s a big letdown than tries to get a good message across.

In the case of Won’t Back Down, its’ main argument is that they want a better school system for the kids, and to be fair, that’s a good message, but what we get is a propaganda film that just shows that these schools are all evil.

The teachers in this movie are nothing but cardboard cutouts of terrible people who just don’t give a fuck at all and this message that’s trying to get out isn’t thought out well at all.

The movie also wastes its’ really talented cast. Not just Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis but people like Holly Hunter, Ving Rhames, and especially Rosie Perez, who I think is in need of a comeback and this movie really is not the perfect start for that.

But I think the problems with the film come from its’ director Daniel Barnz, who made the equally shitty Beastly. This guy just doesn’t know how to make a movie and this is just more proof to that.

Won’t Back Down had a good message that it was trying to get across but it wasn’t brought out well at all and the movie suffers big time because of that.

Those are the worst Viola Davis films, now how about the best ones?:

5. Doubt

A very strong performance lead film with Davis doing great alongside Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

4. State Of Play

A very underrated political thriller with a really good cast in Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, and Helen Mirren with Davis a part of the supporting cast.

3. Prisoners

A powerful thriller with a great cast, great direction by Denis Villenueve, and great suspense all around.

2. The Help

A strong cast carries this crowdpleasing period drama with Emma Stone, Allison Janney, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer.

and the #1 best Viola Davis movie is…

Fences

Just saw this movie recently and I enjoyed the hell out of it, Viola Davis works incredibly well with Denzel Washington in this movie adaptation of August Wilson’s play and the film captures a lot of the spirit and intensity of the play flawlessly and hopefully, it leads to Davis finally getting a well deserved Oscar this year. I’ll delve more into this movie at a later date.

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Posted in Actors' Spotlight
One comment on “Actors’ Spotlight #51: Viola Davis
  1. […] briefly talked about this one when I talked about Viola Davis in this week’s Actors’ Spotlight, but overall, a lot of what I said there can be said about the movie […]

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