Now the 18th person ever to achieve EGOT status, Viola Davis’s years of nonstop and impressive work have more than shown what talent combined with persistence can accomplish. But there’s something about her Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony wins that makes this achievement even more revolutionary.
Many on the short list of EGOT winners have won at least one of their major awards through producing, directing, or similar credits. Viola Davis was front and center in earning all four.
Davis won her Primetime Emmy for her role as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away With Murder. If you didn’t know who Viola Davis was before she headlined a show in a primetime block linked to Ellen Pompeo (Grey’s Anatomy) and Kerry Washington (Scandal), you did then.
She also has two Tony awards — one for “King Hedley II” and the second for Broadway’s “Fences” revival. Fences (the film) also earned her an Oscar.
Her Grammy award — the award that launched her to EGOT status this week — was for Finding Me, her memoir detailing a behind-the-scenes look at her career and the challenges she has faced working in Hollywood. She won Best Audiobook, Narration, and Storytelling Recording for narrating the book.
That’s right: Viola Davis can spend the rest of her life saying she earned her EGOT by narrating her own memoir. Not many people in the world can say they’ve done that.
And not every EGOT winner can say they earned every award solely through actively performing — though those achievements are no less legendary. Davis’s Tonys were for Best Featured Actress and Best Leading Actress (both in a play). Her Emmy was for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and her Oscar was for Best Supporting Actress.
Davis was the first Black performer to win three competing acting awards (her Emmy, Oscar, and Tony). She now has competitive awards in all four categories all credited as an actor.
She earned all these achievements through her own craft — and we can see it all as evidence on-screen. Now, when you walk into a theater or turn on your TV preparing to watch something with Viola Davis’s name on it, you know you’re in for something special before it even starts playing.
We’ve likely not even seen her best performance yet. THAT is the sign of a truly remarkable artist.