February 26th, 2012
07:26 PM ET

Viola Davis: I've really stepped into who I am

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."

Filed under: Awards Season • Oscars 2012

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Sarah

    The Oscars are notorious for passing on an actor/actress one year only to give them the award later for a less impressive work. I think that is what happened with Meryl Streep. Her performance in the Iron Lady was undoubtedly great (as all of her work is) but given the mediocre reviews of the movie as a whole, I'd say she got this award for having been passed up on several other recent nominations. They did the same thing with Colin Firth last year. Don't get me wrong The King's Speech was a great movie and Colin Firth was spectacular in it; however, he was much more impressive in A Single Man the prior year but he lost out to Jeff Bridges (also great of course but in my opinion, very few performances have ever matched Colin Firth's in A Single Man). I think he won it last year in part because he did a brilliant job again but also largely because the Academy felt he was owed from the prior year. I'm not saying they think they made the wrong decision with Jeff Bridges, simply that it seems like they let prior performances and award seasons affect their decisions. Viola Davis is obviously talented and her next great role will probably earn her an Oscar since she, arguably, got snubbed on this one...It may not seem fair to people who thought she was a lock to win, but winning at the other award shows (SAG, Golden Globes) does not really mean anything when you get to the Academy Awards. They are so pretentious in their process that it wouldn't surprise me if they intentionally went against the other award shows just to demonstrate that they are not like those shows. I also kind of think that what hurt Viola Davis' chances in the end was that she really wasn't the lead actress in The Help (even if she was the best one) – that was technically Emma Stone. I'm not saying that should disqualify her, I am just saying the Academy has a weird process.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bumble Bee

    For crying out loud!! Its good she did`nt win a award for playing a slave!

    February 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. OscarFan

    Viola did a great job and so did the other nominees in the same category. There is A LOT of discussion out there about Meryl‘s win-again, but I think they are all winners and nominated rightly so.

    February 27, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rob


    February 27, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lauren

    How wonderful that Ms. Davis is supported for her honesty and sincerity! Her natural beauty is refreshing. All young women out there need to hear more of these types of stories!

    February 27, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. Heather

    I was truly saddened to see that she did not win for best actress.

    February 27, 2012 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard T NYC

      Viola Davis definitely deserved to win the award, but she has won so much more than the status of 'Oscar'! She is the true winner in the hearts and minds of most Americans! Bravo, Viola! Thank you for such a commanding and real portrayal of your character! We LOVE you! Congratulations to the True Winner!

      February 27, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |

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