People.com talked with Viola’s stylist Elizabeth Stewart about why they chose the color white and the process that went into Viola’s look for last night’s Oscars.
The star’s Oscar nomination for her performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom broke her own record as the most nominated Black actress ever at the Academy Awards
Viola Davis showed off high-fashion gowns from the comfort of her home throughout award season, but for tonight’s Academy Awards, she brought her bold style aesthetic to the red carpet.
While the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom nominee, 55, has been leaning into bright colors throughout the season, she went back to basics at the Oscars, wearing a flowing white Alexander McQueen gown with a cutout bodice design and Forevermark diamond drop earrings on the red carpet in Los Angeles.
Stylist Elizabeth Stewart told PEOPLE that they specifically chose white since everyone was expecting Davis to wear color, sharing that the beaded gown was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.
“I could wallpaper my living room with her beautiful sketches, each more beautiful than the last. Viola loves her work and we had dreamed over the years about asking her to make a dress,” Stewart said of Burton. “Viola’s only direction was white, but she saw the beading technique on the runway in a black top and asked for that to be worked in.”
The stylist also revealed that what looked to be skin-baring cut-outs on the red carpet were actually an illusion: “It’s actually a corset dyed to match Viola’s skin tone, achieved by trying about 20 swatches and also with the help of her makeup artist Autumn Moultrie, who gave the atelier makeup base colors she uses on Viola,” she explained. “The skirt is a very light chiffon to offset the heavy beading of the corset top.”
Davis kept her makeup look natural to give a luminous, glowy effect while rocking her natural coils in a pompadour-style up-do.
I was starting to fill in caps of Viola Davis’ projects and I thought, “what’s better than starting from the most famous?” so here we go, starting now I’ll be adding HD Screencaptures of HTGAWM. Enjoy!
Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions has set comedy Unf$?%ables (working title) at Hulu for development.
Co-written by Jeremy Hsu (Jimmy Kimmel Live!) loosely inspired by his own experiences, Unf$?%ables is set in the world of dating.
There’s the dating pool, and there’s the bottom of it…meet two best friends who, against their wishes, live there full time…an Asian American male and an African American female, best friends who are determined to no longer be deemed ?unf***able.”
Hsu co-executive produces. John Strauss (David Makes Man) is co-writing with Hsu and serves as executive producer and showrunner. Davis, Tennon and Andrew Wang executive produce for JuVee Prods. ABC Signature is the studio.
“We are really excited for this show. Jeremy Hsu and John Struss have created a show that at its core is truthful, funny, charming, and heartfelt, a perfect fit for JuVee as we expand our comedy brand featuring people of color,” said Davis and Tennon.
Added Wang, JuVee’s Head of TV Development and Production: “At JuVee Productions, we aspire to bring diverse voices and stories to the screen in a way that is fresh, compelling, and always entertaining. Jeremy and John’s honest and funny take on modern dating is a natural fit, and we’re thrilled to be working with ABC Signature to bring this story to the screen.”
Unf$?%ables stems from the overall deal JuVee had with ABC Signature. Under that pact, JuVee also developed comedy Black Don’t Crack, which recently received a pilot order at ABC.
Written by Regina Hicks, Black Don’t Crack revolves around three sorority sisters (Sherri Shepherd, Essence Atkins, Tisha Campbell) who lost touch after college and reunite at a pivotal moment in their lives.
“We created JuVee to facilitate the stories of the voiceless and underserved,” Davis and Tennon said. “Regina Hicks’ Black Don’t Crack beautifully fits into our mission. It is a powder keg of talent, humor, sisterhood, and surprising poignancy. We believe when the right material meets the right talent, right time, and studio, you have won gold. We are grateful for ABC Signature in their constant support for both these shows that really speak to the heart of who JuVee is.”
Founded in 2011 by Davis and Tennon, JuVee Prods. currently has a first-look film and TV deal with Amazon Studios. JuVee’s award-winning documentary Giving Voice recently premiered on Netflix. JuVee serves as executive producer on Showtime’s The First Lady; Davis stars as Michelle Obama in the anthology series, which is currently in production. JuVee is repped by CAA, the Lasher Group, and attorney James M. Feldman of Lichter Grossman Nichols.
Strauss executive produces the Peabody Award-winning series David Makes Man, which airs on OWN and streams on HBO Max. He previously worked on Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle.
Viola Davis was named Woman of the Year on Friday by Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals.
“Viola has inspired our company with her incredible grit and determination, and we cannot wait to celebrate her successes, strong character and wonderful talent,” said Jessica Moore, the group’s president, in a statement.
Davis is scheduled to be honored April 22 in an online ceremony that will include a roast, a discussion and a speech from Davis as she is presented with her ceremonial pudding pot. Because of the pandemic, the event will not include its traditional parade through the streets of Cambridge.
“We’re very excited to honor Viola Davis as our 71st Woman of the Year because of her immense impact in Hollywood, especially in such a historic and difficult year for the arts,” said Natalie Needle, the event coordinator and producer.
In March, Davis became the Oscars’ most nominated Black female actor ever when she landed her fourth nomination, this one for her lead role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
The film, based on an August Wilson play, is set around a recording session in 1920s Chicago as a blues band awaits the arrival of Ma Rainey. The movie also includes the final performance from actor Chadwick Boseman, who died last year of cancer.
Davis won an Academy Award for her appearance in the 2016 film “Fences,” a role she originated in a 2001 Broadway revival that landed her a Tony Award. The Oscar win made her the first Black woman to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony for acting.
She won her Emmy in 2015 for her role in “How To Get Away With Murder,” and she has another Tony win for her role in “King Hedley II.”
The Hasty Pudding award has been handed out annually since 1951 to people who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment. Previous Hasty Pudding winners include Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn and Helen Mirren. Elizabeth Banks was last year’s recipient.
The gallery has also been updated with HQ Digital Scans of Viola Davis in the EW issue of the Oscars. Enjoy!
Thanks to my friend Jay, I added HQ Digital Scans of W Magazine featuring Viola Davis and her family. Take a look and enjoy!
As accomplished as Academy Award winner Viola Davis is in the industry, she still feels the unfair comparisons and judgments for the roles she chooses. “It’s so hard to get films made that don’t fit a certain box of how they see us,” Davis tells Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast. “Inclusivity cannot be a hashtag. You’ve got to write roles for people of color that are culturally specific – that is just as thought out as our white counterparts’ roles, to get to the point of excellence, so that we can be considered for awards. But a lot of time with inclusivity, it’s a second thought. We’re the leftovers.”
Davis broke a record this year when she was nominated by the Academy Awards for best actress in a leading role, becoming the most nominated Black woman in Oscar history (with four nominations in total). She is also just one of two Black women to ever win an Oscar and then return for another nomination – along with her former co-star Octavia Spencer (“The Help”). But this is not something to be celebrated in her eyes. “The only reason I’m breaking records is that no one has been recognized,” she says. “That ‘honor’ is a sort of limited honor. The problem is with the moviemaking business itself, not the awards. You cannot nominate anyone for awards if there are no films being made.”
Read the full interview/article in our press library.
Viola Davis is obsessed with taking baths. She’s so obsessed, in fact, that the L’Oréal Paris spokeswoman applies her entire nighttime skin care routine while soaking. She tells me this casually while on the phone just two weeks before the 2021 Oscars, where she’s up for Best Actress for her role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Though she’s one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, Davis doesn’t hold back when it comes to spilling her beauty secrets and sharing some of her wisdom. Perhaps that’s why she’s the face of a major milestone for L’Oréal Paris: the 30th anniversary of the iconic Voluminous Original Mascara.
Ahead of the Academy Awards and her next role, Michelle Obama in Showtime’s The First Lady, we catch up with Davis to chat all things skincare, baths, and beauty.
Who is your biggest beauty inspiration?
My first beauty inspiration was my mom, only because she had the best legs in Central Falls, Rhode Island. And she had the best wigs! She could rock a wig, or she could take it off, which she did a lot. She would whip it off, especially when she was mad at us. But she also wore short hair, she had high cheekbones, and a long neck. Just absolutely beautiful. So she was the first—and people in Central Falls would always say, “Viola, your mom is so beautiful.” And it would just, it would make me so proud. She was a minimalist, but yet she knew how to rock the heels and the miniskirts and still look like her. I didn’t feel like she was trying to look like anyone else. She didn’t have the fashion magazines. It was just her style, her way.
Did you want to emulate her beauty in your own life?
Yes, especially my 20s. I used to wear the platform shoes and miniskirts, because I wanted to show my legs, which were a little bit more muscular than my mom’s. I never quite felt like I achieved it, but she definitely was the prototype.
Over time, I think our perceptions of beauty can change. What is something you once thought was true about beauty that you’ve since changed your mind about?
Oh, boy, a lot of it. I always thought beauty was in youth. But that’s not necessarily the case. I think I was a little different that way. But still, I had a little bit of a perception that beauty was youth. As soon as you started seeing the skin sag and the wrinkles, then you couldn’t see the beauty quite as well. I also always thought beauty was hair, lots of hair. And I also thought beauty was something external, that all of beauty was external. It wasn’t until I got much older that I realized that it was a full package. It’s like the old saying, “Beauty is as beauty does.” The person’s heart, character, and confidence, and understanding their value is what radiates beauty. I would hear people say it, but I never quite believed it until I got older.
Was your new attitude and perception of beauty a gradual change that came with time, or was there one moment when you realized it changed?
It came with time, sort of feeling the nicks and scrapes of life and getting to know myself. Understanding that at some point, it’s not conceited and it’s not egotistical to love oneself. I have a daughter who is very beautiful and very tall, and I am always telling her how beautiful she is. The other day she said, “You know, you’re beautiful too, Mommy.” So I feel like through affirming her, it’s also affirming myself. So that has played a huge role in me understanding beauty, is coming to terms with my own beauty.
Read the full article/interview in our press library.
The name Viola Davis is synonymous with incomparable talent, wisdom that can’t be measured, and of course, great skin. So it’s only right that the star is the latest face of beauty brand powerhouse, L’Oréal, joining its long list of celebrity ambassadors that are declaring “you’re worth it.”
ESSENCE was able to (virtually) sit down with the award-winning television and movie star for a moving conversation about beauty, aging, liberation, and how she’s raising her daughter to know her self-worth from a young age.
The brand L’Oréal is so synonymous with such wonderful memories. What’s your favorite memory with the brand?
VIOLA DAVIS: All I know is I know that I was in my twenties, and I just remember being startled looking at the television and it saying “You’re worth it.” I remember it startling me, you know? There’s certain words that when they’re put together, they startle you, and they startled me, especially as a beauty campaign. Back in the day there was like all these beauty campaigns and I remember looking at those women going, “Oh, they’re beautiful or whatever,” but it was L’ Oreal and that whole affirmation of you’re worth it, that literally startled me. I attributed high cheekbones, youth, hair, and fitness to beauty, I never realized that how God made you is worth it. That was the first aha moment.
And you’re a part of the latest campaign for the Age Perfect Midnight Serum, can you tell us what’s so great about the formula?
DAVIS: I love everything. I love its light richness, I love the packaging, I love how it feels as soon as you put it on your skin. It radiates, there’s no dullness and it adds a brightness to my complexion. I love that my skin looks smoother and it doesn’t feel like there’s there’s anything in there that’s going to cause your skin to break out. There’s no parabens, there’s no mineral oil, there’s none of that. I’ve been telling people, I use it every day and I gave one to my husband because we were using one bottle together and he came to me and said, “I want my own.” He’s been getting so many.
Read the full interview/article in our press library.
Regina King, Viola Davis, and Chloé Zhao took time during their cover shoots to ask each other questions. While Davis reveals to King what situation she’d “consider to be the most miserable experience,” King tells Zhao about her search for actors with a command presence, and Zhao closes the loop by explaining to Davis how her film might’ve impacted tourism to South Dakota.