Viola Davis’s standing ovation
Many of you have emailed today about the ELLE Women in Hollywood Tribute last night questioning certain recipients. None of you however questioned Viola Davis. Davis was honoured (and received a standing ovation) for her outstanding contribution to film and it was also revealed that she and her husband have adopted a baby girl called Genesis.
Viola’s work in The Help this year could earn her another Oscar nomination. Word is they’re pushing for her in the Best Actress category. If Nicole Kidman in The Hours could be considered a lead, I don’t see why Viola’s wouldn’t be as well. As previously noted, The Help is not... my favourite. At the same time, I can appreciate Viola’s rationale, for lack of a better word, about the kind of work that’s available to black actors in Hollywood and the attraction of a character like Aibileen.
She spoke again about opportunities for black artists as she accepted her award last night:
"What keeps me in the business is hope, and that's the hope that women of color are also part of the narrative. (I'm) sending a telepathic message to you: every time some young actress of color comes in a room with a character they're auditioning for that's not ethnically specific, that you have a space in your brain that can open up and embrace them and allow them in, because I'm telling you, their lives are just as fascinating and multifaceted." (Source)
This reminded me of two things:
1.When you were reading The Hunger Games, how did you “see” Katniss?
2. And also, the casting of Willow Smith in the remake of Annie - I get it that the source material featured a precocious redhead. But the story’s themes are universal, right? As I wrote earlier this year, “it’s hard for children of different ethnicities to find their places artistically when no one will let them imagine themselves in certain narratives, especially the period pieces. In my day Emily Wong would never play Juliet in Romeo & Juliet. Tasha Ali didn’t have much hope either. If Willow Smith’s re-imagining of Annie means that art might be more inclusive, I have to say I’m down with that”.
Jason Merritt /John Shearer /Getty