Thank you to the Academy. You know, there’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place. And that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time, “What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?” And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. I became an artist, and thank god I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life. So here’s to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.
And to Bron Pictures, Paramount, MACRO, Todd Black, Molly Allen, Scott Rudin for being the cheerleaders for a movie that is about people, and words, and life, and forgiveness and grace. And to Mykelti Williamson, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, Jovan Adepo, Saniyya Sidney for being the most wonderful artists I’ve ever worked with. And, “O captain, my captain,” Denzel Washington. Thank you for puttin’ two entities in the driving seat: August and God.
And they served you well. And to Dan and Mae Alice Davis, who were the—and are the center of my universe. The people who taught me good or bad, how to fail, how to love, how to hold an award, how to lose: my parents. I’m so thankful that God chose you to bring me into this world. To my sisters. My sister Deloris, who’s here, who played Jaji and Jaja with me. We were rich white women in the tea party games. Thank you for the imagination. And to my husband and my daughter, my heart, you and Genesis. You teach me every day how to live, how to love. I’m so glad that you are the foundation of my life. Thank you to the Academy. Thank you.