Viola Davis

Viola Davis' powerful and emotional performances in such plays as "Intimate Apparel" and "King Hedley II" made her a formidable presence on the American theater scene in the late 1990s and 2000s. Her profile in film and on television was somewhat lower at the time, though she worked steadily in supporting parts for directors ranging from Steven Soderbergh with "Out of Sight" (1998) and "Solaris" (2002) and Oliver Stone with "World Trade Center (2006), as well as in countless television series. Her turn as the morally ambiguous mother of a sexually abused student in "Doubt" (2008) gained near-universal acclaim from critics, as did her turn as a strong-willed Civil Rights-era maid in the smash hit "The Help" (2011). Her mainstream breakthrough came as Dr. Annalise Keating in the Shonda Rhimes-produced hit series "How To Get Away With Murder" (ABC 2014- ), for which she became the first African-American actress to win the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Emmy. She then went on to major box office success as one of the stars of the DC Comics anti-hero spectacular "Suicide Squad" (2016), and won the Academy award for Best actress for her starring role in Denzel Washington's August Wilson adaptation "Fences" (2016). With each new role Davis demonstrated an impressive range that assured her considerable talent would be given the opportunity to shine for years to come.