Time will tell if the third time really will be the charm for Viola Davis to take home an Oscar, but there is one honor she can now claim: With her supporting actress nomination for “Fences,” Davis is now the most nominated African-American actress in the history of the awards.
Davis, who previously earned nominations for supporting actress (2008’s “Doubt”) and best actress (the 2011 drama “The Help”), has already won a Golden Globe for her performance in “Fences.” An Oscar win would make her only the eighth African-American actress to take home the award.
To date, six black performers have won the supporting actress Oscar: Hattie McDaniel for “Gone With the Wind” (1939), Whoopi Goldberg for “Ghost” (1990), Jennifer Hudson for “Dreamgirls” (2006), Mo’Nique for “Precious” (2009), Octavia Spencer (“The Help”) and Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave” (2013). Halle Berry remains the only African-American best actress winner, for “Monster’s Ball” (2001).
Even if Davis doesn’t win this year, chances are good that another African-American could have a supporting actress victory. Davis’ competition includes Spencer as a mathematician in the NASA-themed drama “Hidden Figures” and Naomie Harris as a drug-addicted single mom in “Moonlight.”