The excellent Viola Davis won an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Emmy in 2015 for her role as Annalise Keating on How to Get Away With Murder, and was nominated this year as well, though Tatiana Maslany ultimately won.
In a very funny and charming interview with Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday night, though, Davis admitted she didn’t necessarily want to win in 2016 because of her predicament when they announced the nominees: she had peanut butter all over her Marchesa (from the sandwiches Kimmel handed out during the ceremony) and was going through a succession of hot flashes which, in her description, sounds like a little slice of hell.
Davis is pretty sanguine and light-hearted about it, though, and what’s remarkable is that, though she doesn’t outright say it, it seems like she must be discussing an aspect of menopause (she’s 51) in a casual and humorous way, which was a pretty heartening thing to watch on late night television. (I vaguely remember famous women being open about menopause in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but mostly in the form of Cathy comic strips and other deployments of unfortunate fonts. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t really recall seeing someone discuss it so casually.)
Most especially, this interview gave good insight into one of the best actors on television, as she worked to diffuse the apparent confusion between Viola Davis, the performer, and two of her toughest characters from HTGAWM and Suicide Squad. “People apparently think I have a hostile face,” she says. “People mistake me for Annalise Keating and Amanda Waller, so I have to smile. I have to overly smile. I have to smile as if I’m doing a Colgate commercial smile.” It’s depressing that would carry over from her parts—hmm, we can infer some other reasons strangers might have those perceptions, as well—but it’s also a testament to how terrific she is at her job.