At Sunday night’s SAG awards, there were some big wins—Birdman’s entire cast took home trophies, Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Abuda landed best actress in a comedy series, Eddie Redmayne won for his work in The Theory of Everything, and Julianne Moore won best actress for the film, Still Alice. But the biggest winner, hands-down, was Viola Davis, who gave the most stunning acceptance speech of the night.
Davis, by the way, has been really killing it with her acceptance speeches lately. First, there was her People’s Choice Award speech, in which she ruled the stage after her win for Favorite Actress in a New TV series and fired back at a controversial, tasteless New York Times article that deemed her “less classically beautiful” than someone like Kerry Washington. (Um, excuse us? Have you seen Viola Davis?)
And when she got on the stage last night, after winning Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for her role in How to Get Away With Murder, Davis took the opportunity to confront racist, agist beauty standards, and celebrate those who are fighting back against it.
Davis started by talking about her daughter, who asks, every night, to be written into her bedtime stories. Davis’ point was that, thanks to more inclusive shows like How to Get Away With Murder, there’s room for everyone’s stories.
“You know, it starts from the top up,” Davis said. “So I’d like to thank Paul Lee, Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Bill D’Elia, and Peter Nowalk for thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old dark-skinned African-American who looks like me.”
That last bit was a nice little address to the widely criticized Alessandra Stanley article, which Davis first responded to at the People’s Choice Awards.
She then added, “And thank you to all the people who love me exactly how God made me.”
It was powerful, it was necessary and it was inspiring. Just watch:
Congratulations, Viola, and keep kicking ass.