On Sunday night, the 51-year-old not only nabbed the honor of Best Supporting Actress thanks to her work in the drama Fences, but also took home the first-ever #SeeHer Award because of the incredible work she's done to further the representation of women onscreen, The Cut reports. Davis received a well-deserved round of applause from her fellow actors and nominees as she walked to the stage to accept the honor from former co-star Amy Adams. "It’s hard to accept being a role model for women when you’re trying to lose weight," she joked before launching into a speech that proved why she deserved the win.
"I’ve always discovered the heart of my characters by asking, 'Why?'" the actress told the audience before outlining the mental struggles she went through in preparing for her role as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder. "I said, 'Oh God, I've got to lose weight. I've got to learn how to walk like Kerry Washington in heels. I've got to lose my belly.' And then I asked myself, 'Well, why do I have to do all of that?'"
Thankfully, Davis discovered that to embody such a strong character all she needed to do was accept herself and the audience would follow suit. "I think my strongest power is that at 10 o'clock every Thursday night, I want you to come into my world," Davis said. "I am not going to come into yours. You come into my world and you sit with me, my size, my hue, my age, and you sit and you experience. And I think that's the only power I have as an artist, so I thank you for this award."
Watch the speech in its entirety, below.
Watch a video interview with Viola Davis: