Viola Davis has spent her entire promotional run talking about how Fences, and August Wilson, are important to her especially because they celebrate and embody the life of the average person. And she, perhaps better than any other actor in Hollywood, has the chops to embody the quiet, subtle emotion that average people shoulder without fanfare every day; and so while it’s no surprise that Davis finally won an Academy Award for her powerful performance in Fences, it is surprising that this is her first.
Davis is, as Linda Sarsour points out, the first black actor to win an Oscar, a Tony, and an Emmy, leaving her a Grammy away from an EGOT. (Do an audiobook!) Whoopi also EGOTed, but earned her Tony for a producing role. Tonight, of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda is an Oscar win away from himself becoming an EGOT; if he wins for Moana, he will be the second Puerto-Rican and Latinx to EGOT, after Rita Moreno.