Saturday, April 13, 2024

Oscar Games: Viola Davis Opts for Supporting Actress Category for “Fences” Despite Winning Tony as Lead


I am really sorry to hear this news: Viola Davis is going to campaign for Best Supporting Actress in “Fences.” She won the Tony Award for playing the same role as a lead actress. Hmmmm…

Davis was among the top 5 contenders for Best Actress as the Oscar race has shaped up. The other leaders are Annette Bening in “20th Century Women,” Natalie Portman in “Jackie,” Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins” and Emma Stone in “La La Land.” I don’t know why Davis made the decision to opt for supporting. She’s one of our absolutely finest actresses, on a par with Streep and Cate Blanchett. I wish she would reconsider.

Taking Davis out of the Lead group moves Amy Adams up from “Arrival” or “Nocturnal Animals.” Some other names are lurking out there, too, including Marion Cotillard in “Allied,” Isabelle Huppert in “Elle,” and Kristen Stewart in “Personal Shopper.” There’s another rumor that Bening is also thinking of going into Supporting, which would be a heartbreaking decision. She’s the star of the movie.

Davis goes into Supporting with a solid group already forming including Michelle Williams from “Manchester by the Sea,” Margo Martindale in “The Hollars,” Greta Gerwig from either “20th Century Women” or “Jackie,” Elle Fanning from “20th Century Women,” Octavia Spencer from “Hidden Figures,” and Nicole Kidman from “Lion.”

Me? I say vote Viola into Lead anyway. Academy voters have the option of moving actors around in categories. I advocated that a few years ago when I wrote that Kate Winslet could be moved from supporting to lead in “The Reader.” And she won. Viola Davis is a superstar. Let her play on the main stage.

Viola, rethink this choice. Annette, please, stay where you are.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News