February 26th, 2012
07:26 PM ET
As an actor, there are projects that are simply that, and then there are projects that come with a lesson attached - and Viola Davis says this year's best picture nominee "The Help" has been the latter for her.
Davis, who is also up for the best actress Oscar as well, looked stunning in a green gown and cropped hairstyle on the Oscars red carpet. Many have taken note of Davis' regal, natural 'do, and she says that both her husband and her Oscar-nominated role have helped her to become very confident in who she is.
"My husband said, 'Be who you are,'" Davis said of the decision to rock her natural hair. "Step into who you are. [And] I really have. I felt like this project forced me to step into who I was, the choice of playing a maid in 1963 with a broken dialect, and having to defend my choice...You’ve gotta be who you are and be very confident and bold in who you are."
Davis continued, "I feel like my mother’s story, my grandmother’s story has come to the forefront, and I feel like by promoting this movie, I’ve grown."
And so has her friendship with her co-star, Octavia Spencer, who's up for the best supporting actress Oscar.
"This whole journey we’ve made history," Davis said. "In our friendship, and how we had a bond and had each other’s back, it speaks to the power of community and friendship and finding one’s voice. Sometimes you do a project and you collect a paycheck, and sometimes a project teaches you a great lesson in life, and this is one of those projects."
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