Viola Davis Is the Most-Nominated Black Actress in Oscar History

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HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actress Viola Davis poses in the press room with the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for 'Fences' at the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/Getty Images)

Actress Viola Davis makes history as the most-nominated Black Actress and the only Black woman to be nominated for Best Actress twice.

Davis’ second Black Actress nomination breaks the three-nomination-tie she held with longtime friend, actress Octavia Spencer.

The only other Black actress with more than one Oscar nomination is Whoopi Goldberg. Goldberg was acknowledged for her performance in The Color Purple and Ghost.

In an interview with Variety, Davis expresses how this milestone only highlights the lack of inclusion in Hollywood.

“For me, it’s a reflection of the lack of opportunities and access to opportunities people of color have in this business,” Davis says. “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.”

“There are a lot of white actresses out there, who are fairly young- in their 20s or 30s, who have been to the Academy Awards just as many times as me or more than me,” the award-winning actress explains later in the interview. “It’s a reflection of how they had the chance-those three, four or five roles that were so good the brought them to that place. [Being a Black actress] is like having a fabulous body, but not having the right clothes to show it off.”

Davis is nominated for Best Actress. She will be running against Andra Day for her performance in “The People vs. Billie Holiday.”

The Davis and Day nominations make this Oscar’s second year that two Black women were nominated for the category. The first year was in 1973, where Cicely Tyson and Diana Ross competed for the title.

Denzel Washington still hails as the most nominated Black performer of all time, with eight Oscar nominations and two wins. Morgan Freeman follows in second with 5 nominations and one win.

The 2021 Academy Awards will take place Sunday, April 25th.