Viola Davis brought the audience to their feet with her touching acceptance speech at the 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday.
“When I tell my daughter stories at night, inevitably, a few things happen,” Davis said while accepting the award. “Number one, I use my imagination. I always start with life, and then I build from there. And then the other thing that happens is she always says, ‘Mommy, can you put me in the story?’ And you know, it starts from the top up.”
Davis called out the lack of diversity in Hollywood, and thanked the “How to Get Away With Murder” producers (including Shonda Rhimes) for thinking a “mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old, dark-skinned, African-American woman who looks like me.”
Her empowering speech follows the one Davis gave at the People’s Choice Awards earlier this month, in which she took a dig at New York Times’ television critic Alessandra Stanley.
“Thank you Shonda Rhimes, [producer] Betsy Beers and [creator] Peter Nowalk for thinking of a leading lady who looks like my ‘classic beauty,'” she said, referring to Stanley’s assertion that Davis was “less classically beautiful” than Halle Berry or Kerry Washington. “I’m so proud to be an actor and so happy to do what I do. And I’m so happy that people have accepted me in this role at this stage in my career.”
Speaking after the SAG Awards win, Davis said she didn’t anticipate making the speech: