Viola Davis, the actress who took home some of this year’s biggest awards, was honoured with the Harvard foundation ‘Artist of the Year’ 2017 award at Harvard’s 32nd Cultural Rhythms Festival in Cambridge on 4 March 2017. Speaking on the occasion, S Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation said that the foundation’s students and faculty were delighted to present the award to Davis, the much-acclaimed television and film artist, who has made outstanding contributions to American and International film and theatre.
The actress not only won an Oscar recently but also won the Golden Globe, BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild Award for best supporting actress female for her performance as Rose Maxson in the film adaptation of August Wilson’s play ‘Fences’. Viola Davis also acted in the play’s 2010 Broadway revival with Denzel Washington, for which she won her second Tony award.
The award aims to honour the America’s most acclaimed artists and scientists each year. Previous winners of the prestigious award include Shakira, Andy Garcia, Salma Hayek, Quincy Jones, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Matt Damon, Jackie Chan, Eva Longoria, Sharon Stone and Denzel Washington.
She was born on 11 August 1965 in St. Matthews, South Carolina. A graduate of Julliard School, Davis began her acting career through theatre and won an Off-Broadway Theater Award in 1999 for her performance as Ruby McCollum in a play ‘Everybody’s Ruby’. Davis is the only African- American actress to win the Triple Crown of Acting, the Academy Award, Emmy Award and the Tony Award.
She was also listed by the Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. Her actual breakthrough in films came through her supporting role in the drama film ‘Doubt’, which earned her several nominations including the Golden globe, SAG and Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress.
She became the first African American to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2015 for her role as Annalise Keating in the ABC’s drama series ‘How to Get Away with Murder’.She along with her husband Julius Tennon are founders of a production company called JuVee productions.