Viola Davis is an actress whose extraordinary talent has graced both the stage and the silver screen. Her powerful performances have earned her numerous accolades, including an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award, and she’s known for her ability to bring depth and authenticity to every role. In this list, we will explore some of the best Viola Davis movies that showcase her incredible range, from emotionally charged dramas to thought-provoking narratives. Let’s jump into the world of this remarkable actress and the films that have solidified her status as one of the finest in the industry.
10. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2013)
In “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” Viola Davis plays a supporting role as Professor Lillian Friedman. While the film primarily focuses on a troubled relationship, Davis’s performance adds depth to the supporting cast. Her ability to convey wisdom and compassion shines through in this understated but impactful role.
9. How to Get Away with Murder (2014-2020)
While not a movie, Viola Davis’s portrayal of Annalise Keating in the TV series “How to Get Away with Murder” deserves mention. Davis made history by becoming the first African American woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Her portrayal of the brilliant but morally complex law professor is a career-defining role.
8. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)
In her role as Ma Rainey in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Davis delivers a tour de force performance that earned her another Academy Award nomination. This Netflix film, adapted from August Wilson’s play, explores race, art, and exploitation in the 1920s music industry. Davis’s embodiment of the iconic blues singer is a testament to her transformative acting abilities.
7. Antwone Fisher (2002)
“Antwone Fisher” is a drama directed by Denzel Washington, and Viola Davis delivers a poignant performance as Mrs. Tate, a social worker who helps a young Navy sailor confront his troubled past. Davis’s portrayal is heartfelt and emotionally resonant, adding depth to the film’s themes of healing and redemption.
6. Widows (2018)
In the heist thriller “Widows,” Viola Davis plays Veronica, the widow of a career criminal who is killed during a failed robbery. Veronica assembles a group of widows to complete a heist her late husband had planned. Davis’s performance is both fierce and vulnerable, and she effortlessly carries the film’s complex narrative.
5. The Architect (2005)
In the 2006 film “The Architect,” Viola Davis delivers a powerful and emotionally resonant performance as Tonya Neely, a resilient woman facing the challenges of life in a struggling urban community. Her portrayal adds depth and authenticity to the film, showcasing Davis’s remarkable talent for bringing complex characters to life.
4. The Help (2011)
Viola Davis’s portrayal of Aibileen Clark, a black maid in 1960s Mississippi who shares her experiences working for white families, is one of the standout performances in “The Help.” Her ability to convey a range of emotions, from quiet strength to vulnerability, earned her an Oscar nomination. The film, which addresses racial inequality and social change, was a critical and commercial success.
3. Doubt (2008)
In “Doubt,” Viola Davis delivers a scene-stealing performance as Mrs. Miller, the mother of a young boy at a Catholic school. Her brief but impactful role opposite Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman garnered her an Academy Award nomination. Davis’s emotionally charged scene with Streep is a masterclass in acting.
2. The Woman King (2022)
In “The Woman King,” Viola Davis once again proves her unparalleled acting prowess. She embodies the role of a fearless warrior in an 18th-century African kingdom, showcasing her exceptional talent for bringing complex characters to life. Davis’s performance in this historical drama is a tour de force, capturing the essence of resilience and courage in the face of adversity.
1. Fences (2016)
“Fences” is the film that finally brought Viola Davis the well-deserved Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Directed by and co-starring Denzel Washington, the movie is an adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Davis’s portrayal of Rose Maxson, a wife and mother in 1950s Pittsburgh, is nothing short of breathtaking. Her performance is filled with emotional depth and raw power, making it one of her most iconic roles.
Viola Davis is a force to be reckoned with in the world of cinema. Her ability to breathe life into complex characters, convey a wide range of emotions, and tackle important social issues through her roles is unparalleled. Whether she’s on the big screen or the small screen, Viola Davis consistently delivers performances that leave a lasting impact. Her presence in any film elevates it to a higher level of artistry, making her one of the most respected and celebrated actresses of our time.