Watch Viola Davis’ Moving Oscars Speech: “Exhume Those Bodies, Exhume Those Stories”
Viola Davis was the much-deserved winner of the Best Supporting Actress awards at the 2017 Oscars for her role as Rose in Fences. In her speech, Davis tearfully thanked her family and collaborators, calling out directly to director/co-star Denzel Washington with an “Oh captain, my captain.” She also paid tribune to Fences playwright August Wilson, who she said “exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.” Davis began with what will hopefully go down in history as one of the iconic opening lines from any acceptance speech in Oscars history: “There’s one place that all of the people with the greatest potential are gathered … one place … and that’s the graveyard.”
Davis is the third black winner of a major award this year, along with Mahershala Ali and Ezra Edelman (for O.J.: Made in America); as Vulture notes, that is one win away from an all-time record for the Oscars.
Watch Davis’ acceptance speech below. Read a 1990 SPIN essay from August Wilson, the playwright who wrote Fences, here.