With so much talk about diversity in Hollywood, and the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations, it was refreshing to see the SAG Awards honor so many diverse actors. It’s definitely a topic on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days.
Viola Davis, however, doesn’t think that we should treat it like the latest fad, and she wasn’t afraid to say so backstage after winning her award.
“We have become a society of trending topics. Diversity is not a trending topic. It’s just not,” Davis says. “I’ve always considered myself an actor since I got my equity card in 1988. I’ve never put any limitations on myself. I felt like I could play Chekhov, any character in Chekhov and Shakespeare in Arthur Miller, in August Wilson.
"I see myself as an actor. No matter what is going on in the business, I will find a way to practice my art, and all of the actors of color who I know don’t place any limitations on themselves either. So regardless of what is going on with the Academy, regardless of what is going on in Hollywood, they will find a way to be excellent. We always have and we always will.”
As far as her speech on stage, Davis pushed boundaries again by taking on her character Annalise Keating’s anti-hero status.
“People are always saying, 'Annalise is an antihero. Don't you worry she's not likable?” Davis says. “Why do I have to be a hero… Why do I have to be a mentor? My job as an actor is just to create a human being."