Viola Davis wins supporting actress Oscar for ‘Fences’

Viola Davis wins supporting actress Oscar for 'Fences'

LOS ANGELES — Viola Davis needs to make room in her trophy case.

On Sunday she won the best supporting actress Oscar for “Fences,” a role she originated in a Broadway revival seven years ago for which she won a Tony Award.

Davis played long-suffering Rose Maxson opposite Denzel Washington as her husband Troy, a couple living in 1950s Pittsburgh whose marriage eventually falls apart. The role earned her trophies at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Davis also owns an Emmy award for her work on the ABC hit “How to Get Away With Murder.” Two years ago, she became the first black woman to win for lead actress in a drama series, and she’s the first black woman to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony.

She’s one trophy short of achieving EGOT status, needing a Grammy to complete the awards quartet.

Winning an Oscar for the first time in three nominations, an emotional Davis clutched her statue and saluted late playwright August Wilson, saying the “Fences” author “exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.”

She singled out her director Washington, glancing down at him sitting in the front row at the Dolby Theatre.

“Thank you for putting two entities in the driving seat: August and God,” Davis said. “They served you well.”

The Juilliard-trained actress also thanked her parents, Dan and Mary Alice Davis, who raised her in the impoverished town of Central Falls, Rhode Island.

“I’m so thankful that God chose you to bring me into this world,” she said.

Davis became choked up backstage when she considered where she came from and where she is now.

“This is the first time in my life I’ve stepped back — I’m going to try not to cry right now — and I can’t believe my life,” she said.

“I grew up in poverty. I grew up in apartments that were condemned and rat-infested and I always sort of wanted to be somebody. I just wanted to be good at something. This is the miracle of god and dreaming big and hoping it sticks and it lands, and it did. I’m overwhelmed.”

Beth Harris, The Associated Press

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