Viola Davis Makes History as First Black Actress to Earn Three Oscar Nominations
Viola Davis just earned her place in the record books.
The 51-year-old actress earned her third Academy Award nomination Tuesday when she received a Best Supporting Actress nod for her role in Fences, and in the process became the most-nominated black actress in Oscar history.
The Rhode Island native, who overcame an impoverished childhood to become one of Hollywood’s most respected stars, earned her first Best Supporting Actress nomination in 2008 for Doubt, and a Best Actress nomination in 2011 for The Help.
She has yet to bring home the coveted trophy, but is considered a frontrunner after winning a Golden Globe for the role earlier this month.
“Thank you to the Academy for recognizing this extraordinary, important film and my work in it. Thank you, Denzel, for being at the helm!” she said of her nomination, per the Los Angeles Times.
If she wins, she will inch close to coveted EGOT status, after already bringing home an Emmy for her role in How to Get Away with Murder, and a Tony award in 2010 for Fences, in addition to an earlier Tony win in 2001.
VIDEO: Viola Davis's Emmy Speech
Denzel Washington earned a Best Actor nomination for his role in the August Wilson adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, although he failed to earn a Best Director nod. (Wilson, who wrote the screenplay before he died in 2005, was posthumously nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.)
Davis was previously tied with Whoopi Goldberg for Oscar nominations, with The Viewco-host first nominated for Best Actress in 1986 for The Color Purple, and later bringing home the Best Supporting Actress award in 1991 for Ghost.
The latest Oscar slate also acknowledged other actresses of color. Octavia Spencer earned her second Best Supporting Actress nomination for Hidden Figures, after winning that same category five years earlier for The Help. First-time nominee Ruth Negga also earned a Best Actress nomination for her role in Loving, while Naomie Harris scored a nod for Moonlight.