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VIOLA DAVIS (Antigone) made an indelible impression on the big screen with her heart-wrenching performance in Denzel Washington’s Antwone Fisher, which earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination. The critically revered actress of film, television, and theater has won rave reviews for her intriguingly diverse roles.
Davis currently stars alongside Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the film Doubt, based on the Tony-winning play, where she portrays Mrs. Miller, the mother of a young boy who piques the fascination of a Catholic priest. The film is directed by John Patrick Shanley and produced by Scott Rudin for Miramax Studios. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture,” a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role” and an Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actress.” The National Board of Review recognized Davis with the “Breakthrough Award,” and she was also honored by the Santa Barbara Film Festival as a “Virtuoso.”
In 2009, Davis will make cameo appearances in the feature films Madea Goes to Jail and State of Play. She will also appear in a cameo role in the film Law Abiding Citizen (2010) for Overture Films.
Recently Davis shared the big screen with Diane Lane, Richard Gere, and James Franco in the drama Nights in Rodanthe (2008), directed by George C. Wolfe. Based on the novel of the same name, the film centers around a woman (Lane) who retreats to the tiny North Carolina coastal town of Rodanthe to watch over a friend’s (Davis) inn for the weekend. There she meets a male guest (Gere) who is seeking shelter from a pending storm and their lives subsequently begin to intertwine.
Also in 2008, Davis appeared on the small screen co-starring in the A&E miniseries The Andromeda Strain with a cast that includes Benjamin Bratt, Eric McCormack, and Rick Schroeder. When an entire town, with the exception of a baby and an old man, is killed by a mysterious virus brought to earth by a returning satellite, it is up to a crack team of scientists to find a cure before the world is decimated. The Andromeda Strain was nominated for an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Mini-Series or Made for Television Movie.”
Additional film credits include a supporting role in Disturbia starring Shia LeBeouf for director D.J. Caruso. Davis was also seen in the independent film, The Architect opposite Anthony LaPaglia; Jim Sheridan’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ opposite 50 Cent; Syriana starring George Clooney, directed by Stephen Gaghan and produced by Steven Soderbergh (Davis’ fourth collaboration with the Oscar winning director); Far from Heaven with Dennis Quaid and Julianne Moore; and Solaris, Traffic and Out of Sight.
Davis’ television credits also include a recurring role on Law & Order: SVU; a recurring role in the CBS mini-series franchise Jesse Stone opposite Tom Selleck; a starring role as Diane Barrino in Life is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story for Lifetime; a starring role in ABC’s Traveler playing Agent Jan Marlow; CBS’ Century City, Lefty, and the Steven Bochco series, City of Angels. Additionally, she had roles in Oprah Winfrey’s Amy and Isabelle, and Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Grace and Glorie.
In 2004, Davis lit up the stage in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Lynn Nottage’s play, Intimate Apparel directed by Tony-winning director Daniel Sullivan. She garnered the highest honors for an off-Broadway play, including Best Actress awards from the Drama Desk, the Drama League, the Obie and the Audelco Award. Davis was nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award as well. She reprised her role at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles where she was recognized with the Ovation, Los Angeles Drama Critics and the Garland Awards. In 2001, Davis was awarded a Tony for “Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play” for her role in King Hedley II. She commanded the attention of critics and audiences alike for her portrayal of Tonya, a 35-year old woman who is forced to fight for the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy. Davis also received a Drama Desk Award in recognition of her work.
Davis is a graduate of the Julliard School and holds an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree from her alma mater, Rhode Island College. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, actor Julius Tennon.