To Emmy Winner Viola Davis, With Love

Dear Viola Davis,

Congratulations on your historic Emmy win.

I can’t think of anyone more deserving. Every time you step in front of a camera something magical and emotionally gripping takes place.

You are one of the rare performers who always give us their very best. Even in the dreckiest of dreck, you shine. You haven’t won an Oscar yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

The Academy should have given it to you in 2009 for your supporting role in “Doubt,” a nomination you clinched in just one heart-wrenching scene.

And they should have given it to you in 2012 because, as quietly long-suffering maid Aibileen Clark, you were the raw, bleeding heart and soul of “The Help.”

Heck, they should give you an Oscar every time you show up on screen. Even in forgettable crap like “Blackhat” and “Beautiful Creatures,” you’re golden, emerging totally unscathed.

As exciting as it was to watch you become the first African American to lift up that best dramatic actress trophy, your victory speech was even more epic.

You weren’t afraid to tell it like it is: Though the television industry has taken small steps on the road to diversity, it still has miles to go.

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” you said. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply aren’t there.”

You didn’t stop there, though. Rather than end your speech on a negative note, you paid triumphant tribute to those who dare cross that line Harriet Tubman spoke of centuries ago, groundbreakers and trailblazers like Shonda Rhimes, Taraji P. Henson, and Kerry Washington.

You spoke the truth, Viola, and you did it with uncommon strength, joy and grace, the very same qualities that make you such a compelling, unparalleled actor.

I couldn’t have loved that speech more.

You know what else I love?

Your television show, “How to Get Away With Murder,” enters its second season Thursday on ABC. It’s the perfect arrangement: you continue to preside over the leading role you richly deserve and every week viewers get to enjoy your genius.

I love that your next major film is the comic book movie “Suicide Squad,” in which you play boss-of-everybody Amanda Waller. I’m more excited about that than I am about seeing Margot Robbie as the deranged Harley Quinn or Jared Leto as a terrifyingly punk-rock Joker.

I adore the fact that this is what you told the Hollywood Reporter when they asked why you agreed to appear as Waller:

“As a comic book and Wonder Woman fan, I love the whole DC Comics universe. I traded comic books as a kid so all of that appeals to me. When you dream about being an actor as a kid, that’s what you dream about. That’s like play acting: being the superhero, getting the gun; it plays into that fantasy.”

You may be an Emmy winner, a Tony winner, and an Oscar nominee, Viola, but you’re a geek at heart, just like the rest of us.

Did I mention that I love you?

Photo: Rich Fury, Associated Press

 

 

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