Viola Davis: First Black Woman To Win An Oscar, Emmy And Tony For Acting

89th Annual Academy Awards - Press Room
Getty Images | Frazer Harrison

“I’ve become an artist and thank God I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”

Those were the words spoken by Viola Davis on stage at the Oscars on Sunday night as she received her Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. (Although some took offense to the implication that acting is the only profession to celebrate this.)

Davis has now officially become the very first black woman to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony for her skills as an actress. This now puts her among only 22 other people who’ve picked up the “Triple Crown,” a term used to describe actors and actresses who’ve won at least one competitive acting award at the Oscars, the Emmys and the Tonys.

She went on to say in her speech last night:

“People ask me all the time, ‘What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?’ and I say, ‘Exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories—the stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People fell in love and lost.'”

Those who watched her last night were nothing short of inspired after she spoke about her decision to become an actress in order to tell the stories of ordinary people. She concluded her moment on stage Sunday night by thanking her parents, her husband and their daughter.

Davis took home the award for Best Supporting Actress during Sunday’s Oscars for her role in “Fences.”

Davis had won an Emmy in 2015 for her work on “How to Get Away with Murder” and two Tony Awards: the first, in 2001, for her role in “King Hedley II” and then a second in 2010 for her her work in the stage version of “Fences.”

The only other black woman who has previously whose reached this elite “Triple Crown” status was Whoopi Goldberg. However, the Tony she won wasn’t for her acting role, but rather for her role as the producer of Broadway musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Among the other 22 triple-crowners are acting legends such as Al Pacino, Jessica Lange, Maggie Smith and Helen Mirren. Having won an Oscar, Emmy and two Tonys, Davis now has accolades that not even her heroes, such as Meryl Streep, have achieved.

All we know is that we’re incredibly happy for all of her successes, including winning an Oscar on Sunday evening, and we can’t wait to see what Davis’ future holds.


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Megan Fenno
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