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Viola Davis now the most-nominated Black actress in Oscars history

(LOS ANGELES) — Viola Davis made history Monday morning when the 2021 Oscar nominations were announced: The actress received a best actress nomination for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which marked her fourth Oscar nod. With her 2021 nod for playing Ma Rainey in the George C. Wolfe-directed drama, Davis is now the most-nominated Black actress in Academy Award history.

Davis was previously tied with Octavia Spencer, who has three Academy Award nominations to her name.

Davis’ other Oscar nominations include best supporting actress for Doubt, best actress for The Help, and best supporting actress, for Fences, the latter of which she won in 2017.

The actress celebrated her Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom nod and the film’s total five nominations with an Instagram post. “Absolutely thrilled!!” she wrote. “Congratulations to the whole @MaRaineyFilm team! Deserved!”

Davis will compete in the best actress category at the 2021 Academy Awards alongside Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Vanessa Kirby’s Pieces of a Woman, Frances McDormand’s potrayal in Nomadland, and Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman.

The actress spoke to Variety last month about the idea of becoming the most-nominated Black actress in Oscars history, saying the accomplishment signifies how much more progress needs to be made.

“For me, it’s a reflection of the lack of opportunities and access to opportunities people of color have had in this business,” she told the outlet. “If me, going back to the Oscars four times in 2021, makes me the most nominated Black actress in history, that’s a testament to the sheer lack of material there has been out there for artists of color.”

By Hayley FitzPatrick
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