Viola Davis recently received her third Oscar nomination and first win for the period drama film “Fences” (Best Supporting Actress, 2016). Her two other noms were for “Doubt” (Best Supporting Actress, 2008) and “The Help” (Best Actress, 2011). This year, if Davis receives a fourth bid for starring in the heist thriller “Widows” (watch the trailer), she would make history as the most nominated black actress in Oscar history.
At the moment, she shares the title with Octavia Spencer, also a three-time nominee. Her bids were for her supporting performances in “The Help” (winner, 2011), “Hidden Figures” (nominee, 2016) and “The Shape of Water” (nominee, 2017). Next in line with two nominations would be Whoopi Goldberg – nominated for her lead performance in “The Color Purple” (1985) and supporting role in “Ghost” (1990), which she won for.
“Widows” is based on the 80s British TV crime drama of the same name, which was written by Lynda La Plante. The movie adaptation was directed by Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) and written by Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl,” “Sharp Objects”) and McQueen. It premiered at Toronto International Film Festival on September 8 and is scheduled to be released in the US on November 16 by 20th Century Fox. In the movie, Davis plays Veronica Rawlins, who comes to learn that she is in deeper trouble than she had thought. She’s informed by crime boss Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) that her late husband (Liam Neeson) owes him $2 million, which if not paid in the next few weeks, will be the beginning of the end for her.
Davis’ performance in the movie has already been hailed by critics. Christopher Machell (CineVue) calls her performance “stunning” and “all at once strong, vulnerable and brave.” He adds that “genre film or not, Davis’ depiction of profound grief is tremendously effective.” Eric Kohn (Indiewire) says that the film “largely belongs to Davis,” who “has never been more commanding.” Finally, Benjamin Lee (The Guardian) praises Davis for having “an effortless ability to fiercely command any scene that she’s in” and adds that “she’s also equally adept at conveying unfiltered heartbreak and the moments where she allows herself to mourn, however brief, sting with sadness.”
The Oscar, Emmy and two-time Tony winner has become one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. And with “Widows” already being a critical success before its official release, Davis has a real shot at being nominated for Best Actress. According to our early combined Oscar predictions, the five nominees will be Davis, Glenn Close (“The Wife”), Olivia Colman (“The Favourite), Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”) and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”).
Do you think history is in the making for Viola Davis? Make sure to let us know in the comment section below.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.