Article taken from IndieWire.

Actors going through extreme physical transformations to play real-life figures is often catnip for Oscar voters, from Charlize Theron in Monster to Christian Bale in The Fighter and Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour, among other winners and nominees. WillViola Davisfollow with her performance in Ma Raineys Black Bottom this season? Oscar pundits are keeping a close eye on Davis, who took home the Best Supporting Actress trophy in 2017 for her performance in Fences.

Similar to Fences, theNetflixrelease Ma Raineys is adapted from an August Wilson play and features Denzel Washington as a producer. Davis leads the film as Gertrude Ma Rainey, the iconic singer who became known as the Mother of the Blues during the 1920s. The actress underwent her own physical transformation to play Ma Rainey, some of which she detailed last month during a conversation with the Toronto International Film Festival.

I tried to gain as much [weight] as I could but [Ma Rainey] was really big, close to 300 pounds, Davis said. I got close to 200. Ann Roth, the great costume designer, she said, Viola, what body do you want to look like? And the body that I loved once again I grew up with a lot of big woman that I thought were the most beautiful woman in the word. So for me it was Aretha Franklin. I wanted that body.

Davis continued, What [Ann Roth] did was she got Arethas measurements and she made a fat suit based on Arethas measurements. That was Ma Raineys fat suit. I felt very sexy with that fat suit. You could tell Denzel was like, You are loving that suit!

In an interview withThe New York Timesthis week, Davis said she felt fan-friggin-fantastic while in character on the films set. The actress added, I reveled in her, I swished my hips every day. There was such joy in that freedom of expression. Transforming into Ma Rainey also hammered home an important lesson for Davis: I have to remember that I dont have to barter for my worth. I was just born with it.

Ma Raineys Black Bottom is directed by George C. Wolfe and stars Davis opposite Chadwick Boseman in his final movie role. Netflix is premiering the drama on its platform globally on December 18.

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