Emmys exclusive: Viola Davis (‘HTGAWM’) explains why she submitted ‘Freakin’ Whack-a-Mole’

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Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder“) is a two-time Tony winner and two-time Oscar nominee, but this year marks her first Emmy nomination. She’s nominated as Best Drama Actress for playing Annalise Keating, a prominent law professor and criminal defense attorney on the ABC freshman drama. During our webcam chat from before the nominations were announced, she discussed with me and Daniel Montgomery why she wanted to submit the episode “Freakin’ Whack-a-Mole” to Emmy judges. Watch the interview below.

Click here to see the updated list of all 2015 Emmy episode submissions

“I love that whole episode,” she explains of her 2015 Emmy submission. “I’m telling Sam to stay and that I thought showed a pathetic aspect of Annalise, which I found interesting — the juxtaposition with her strength.”

Davis continues, “I like the courtroom scene in ‘Freakin’ Whack-a-Mole.’ That’s the closest you get to being on stage, on screen. Because, as a lawyer, you have to act. And your objective is to change the minds of the jury and to entertain. It’s a very narcissistic element of being a lawyer. I love being on stage, so I love being in that courtroom. Especially with a particularly hard case where I get to really beat someone down, like the Senator in ‘Freakin’ Whack-a-Mole.'”

Some awards pundits thought Davis might submit “Let’s Get to Scooping,” the episode where her character removes her wig and make-up for the first time. “I like the wig coming off, but I know that that’s just one moment in that episode,” she admits.

Going in depth about that infamous scene, she tells us, “My taking off the wig is a seemingly very simple act, it really is. But not. Because for me, I have seen women on screen for so many years and I don’t know who they are … I’ve never seen the mask come off. For me, I just feel like a woman who is my type, being able to take the mask off and being able to be flashy in the courtroom and also have this kind of hot boyfriend, it was a chance for me to introduce something different and, at the end of the day, something very real and honest.”

Below: Watch our complete interview with Davis where she dishes her favorite twists from Season 1 of “How to Get Away with Murder,” and then use the easy drag-and-drop menu to tell us if you think she will win Best Drama Actress at the Emmys.

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