When the Oscar nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were revealed earlier this morning, Viola Davis made history by becoming the first African American actress to receive three Oscar nominations. She received her nomination for a stellar performance alongside Denzel Washington in Fences.
Davis previously shared the record of two nominations with Whoopi Goldberg. The Fences star’s last two nominations came from 2011’s The Help and 2008’s Doubt. She’s also been killing it on the TV circuit, winning a 2015 Emmy for How To Get Away With Murder. The 51 year old actress’s odds are solid to win an Oscar this year, as she won a Golden Globe for the same category of Best Supporting Actress earlier this year.
While the record is admirable for Viola Davis, when compared to another record set today it highlights Hollywood’s ongoing issues with diversity. Meryl Streep just received a record-setting 20th (!!) nomination, and the juxtaposition between two very talented actresses is shocking. People have already begun making noise about another woman of color being left out of the Oscar nominations – Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Figures. We’ll report back if that sentiment gains steam, but in the meantime we can celebrate Viola Davis’ achievement.