5 Things You Didn’t Know About Oscar Winner Viola Davis

Last night, Viola Davis took home the award for Best Supporting Actress at the 89th annual Oscar Academy Awards, for her role in Fences alongside Denzel Washington.

Viola was up against of host of incredible actresses also vying for the award, including Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures, Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea, Nicole Kidman for Lion, and Naomie Harris for Moonlight. And while she beat all the actresses to the coveted award, her performance in the film left many wishing that she’d actually been nominated for the main actress category, Best Leading Actress. 

But the actress delivered an incredibly emotional speech after being presented with her first ever Oscar by Mark Rylance, making reference to all the people who never got the chance to take home such an honour.

She dedicated the award to “all the stories of people who dreamed big, and never saw those dreams come to fruition.” She accepted the award in tears and broke hearts all over the world as she thanked her family, husband and daughter, for being the “foundation” of her life.

Here’s the full speech, if you missed it:

But how much do you know about the now Oscar-winning actress? Here are 5 things you may not have known…

1. She had a difficult time growing up

Viola Davis has regularly spoken about how she and her family grew up in relative poverty. She has revealed that she, her parents, and her five siblings, would often have no idea about where their next meal was coming from, and admitted they would spend a lot of time sifting through bins for food. She has said, “I have befriended people in the neighborhood, who I knew had mothers who cooked three meals a day for food, and I sacrificed a childhood for food and grew up in immense shame.”

2. She’s got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Back in 2012, following the release of The Help, she bagged a prestigious place on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood boulevard, firmly cementing her in Hollywood royalty. 

3. She’s stayed at George Clooney’s home before

Viola Davis and her husband, Julius Tennon, spent their honeymoon at George Clooney’s villa in Lake Como, Italy. 

4. She had a hugely successful career on Broadway before film

Before this Oscar, she had already won two Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards, for starring in Intimate Apparel, King Hedley II, and the theatre version of Fences.

5. She wants to set up her daughter with Sandra Bullock’s son Louis

Viola and her husband adopted their daughter, Genesis, back in 2011, and at the tender age of 1 Viola was already revealing her hopes over who she might end up with. At the time, she said, “I’d absolutely love to set her up with Louis. That kid is so cute. He’s going to be a bruiser. If they are ever in the same place, let’s get them together.”