Viola Davis: From historic Emmy win for ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ to Oscar record with ‘Fences’

Last year when Viola Davis won the Emmy Award for Best Drama Actress for “How to Get Away with Murder” she became the first African American to ever win in that category. This year Davis defends her title at the Emmys and is also being heavily touted as an Oscar contender for her role in “Fences.” Should she win the Academy Award, she’d be the first woman to do so while headlining a dramatic TV series.

Sign up to get Gold Derby’s free newsletter with experts’ latest predictions and breaking news

Winning Oscars while starring on television was an almost unheard of situation for decades as there was a huge chasm between performers who worked on the small and big screens. TV stars just weren’t given the opportunity to appear in the other medium. In 1998 Helen Hunt made awards history when she won an Oscar for the film “As Good As It Gets” while still starring in the sitcom “Mad About You.” (Hunt also won four Emmys for that show from 1996-1999.)

Prior to Hunt, there had been only a few instances when a TV player would win an Oscar for a scene-stealing featured performance. Cloris Leachman won for her role in “The Last Picture Show” (1971) while recurring on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” And Goldie Hawn took home a supporting Oscar for “Cactus Flower” (1969) a few weeks after departing her series regular role on “Laugh-In.” However, headlining both a movie and a TV show, let alone winning an Oscar, just wasn’t done.

Find out what will win at the Emmys this year — Click Here

Davis currently stands in first place in Gold Derby’s Oscar predictions for this year’s Best Actress race with 5/2 odds. She is likely receiving the support of early prognosticators based on the fact that “Fences” is a highly lauded Broadway play for which she won a Tony Award when she appeared in the 2010 revival with Denzel Washington (who is recreating his role in the film as well as directing).

Also putting Davis ahead in early Oscar predictions is her history with the academy. A nomination for “Fences” would be her third, which would be a record for an African American actress. She’s tied with Whoopi Goldberg after reaping a supporting bid for “Doubt” (2008) and a lead nomination for “The Help” (2011), which she lost in a close battle to her “Doubt” co-star Meryl Streep (who also may be nominated this year for her role in “Florence Foster Jenkins”).

Make your Emmy predictions — CLICK HERE
Win $500, top spot on our leaderboard & a place in next year’s Top 24

And Davis is currently in second place to Robin Wright (“House of Cards”) in our Emmy predictions for the sophomore season of “How to Get Away With Murder.” At last year’s Emmys, her acceptance speech received almost as much praise as her work. Should Gold Derby’s early predictions hold up, she may need to be planning  some more of her gracious acceptance speeches for which she is becoming known.

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions right here. You’ll compete to win our contest prizes for best picks — $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place) in Amazon gift certificates — a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys). Be sure to read our contest rules.

4 thoughts on “Viola Davis: From historic Emmy win for ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ to Oscar record with ‘Fences’

  1. If Viola Davis receives a 2016 Academy Award nomination for best actress, she would become the first black female nominated specifically for a lead-acting Oscar more than once in the Academy’s near-90-year history.

  2. There’s no more to learn here – certainly not from a TV mini-series – just a big payday for a bunch of people off the lives of the two who were murdered (whether it was OJ or not) and the many whose lives were changed forever for the worse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News from GoldDerby

Loading