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Viola Davis

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NEWS
November 10, 2011 | By Nicole Sperling, Los Angeles Times
Viola Davis has long considered herself a cynic. It's a reflection of the 16 years she has spent in an industry that does little to support the career of black women. It's being a part of a Hollywood that continually asks her to play the "urban single mother. " One that honors the movie "Precious" but does little to make another one like it. So it was with great apprehension that the 46-year-old Davis took on the role of the uneducated Southern maid Aibileen in the film adaptation of the bestselling novel "The Help.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 26, 2012 | By Nicole Sperling, Los Angeles Times
The new film "Won't Back Down" tells the story of a crusading single mother and a dedicated teacher who take on a bad principal, an unforgiving union and an entrenched bureaucracy in an attempt to improve a failing public elementary school. The real-life tale couldn't be more topical: The Chicago teachers strike brought public school reform to the forefront of the national conversation. But the film's relevance is proving problematic too. Pro-union, anti-charter school advocates began denouncing "Won't Back Down" weeks ahead of its Friday release, making the movie a target in ways its makers hadn't intended.
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 1, 2004 | Barbara Isenberg, Special to The Times
When actress Viola Davis was first approached about starring in Lynn Nottage's new play, "Intimate Apparel," the timing was all wrong. Film and television commitments had temporarily nudged theater off the dance card for Davis, who'd won a 2001 Tony Award for her work in August Wilson's "King Hedley II." But Davis got another chance.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 27, 2012 | By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
For a moment, it looked as though "Hugo" could sweep this year's Academy Awards. Martin Scorsese's 3-D family film snapped up five trophies in technical categories, including surprise wins for cinematography and visual effects. But as the more prestigious prizes were handed out later in the night, momentum shifted to the expected favorite, "The Artist," which won for best picture, director and lead actor among its five awards. The only upset in the highest-profile categories came near the end of the show, when Meryl Streep won the lead actress statue for her portrayal of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," beating out Viola Davis for "The Help.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 1, 2002 | Kevin Maynard, Special to The Times
As a working actress, Viola Davis would like to get something off her chest: There are such things as small roles. "Sometimes, you just have to come in and deliver the pizza," she says. "Because I'm a firm believer that you have to fit into the grand scheme of the movie. It is your role, but you also play a part in the scheme of the whole picture, and you have to understand what your role is in that." The 37-year-old Juilliard-trained actor knows whereof she speaks.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 13, 2010 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
The recent parade of Hollywood stars on Broadway has allowed theater critics to indulge in their two favorite pastimes — grousing and fawning. The hypocrisy is perfectly natural: Standards need to be upheld while luminaries are there to be adored. Yet pity the poor conflicted reviewer — committed to "The Theatuh" on the one hand, swept up in the tidal surge of celebrity charisma on the other. I've always maintained that a good actor is a good actor. But famous novices and returning legends need to choose their theatrical ventures wisely.
NEWS
February 18, 2009
Marisa Tomei got lots of attention for taking off her clothes in "The Wrestler," and Penelope Cruz seems to be the critics' favorite to win for her role in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," but in the supporting actress category, everyone's got a shot at winning. Just look at Tomei, who came out of nowhere to win it in 1993. This year, it's still anybody's game -- Amy Adams, Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis, above, are all in the running. See our panelists' last-minute changes at TheEnvelope.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 23, 2009 | Lisa Rosen
It's been a big week. On Thursday, at an ungodly hour, the Academy Award nominations were announced. And two days earlier, there was some excitement on the East Coast as well. President Barack Obama was inaugurated on the Capitol steps, in front of a sea of people from every demographic. Viola Davis, a newly crowned supporting actress nominee for her role as Mrs. Miller in "Doubt," was watching the scene in tears at home in Los Angeles with her husband.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 6, 2004 | Daryl H. Miller, Times Staff Writer
In 1905 New York City, an African American seamstress spends hour after hour at a sewing machine to make gorgeous garments for her clients, while she wears plain, inexpensive clothes. "I been working since I was 9 years old," 35-year-old Esther Mills recalls, "with barely a day's rest." Down in Panama, George Armstrong risks death daily to help dig the canal that will become an engineering marvel and an economic engine.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 23, 2010 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Why is everyone giving Tom Cruise such a hard time? Can't we just forget about what happened on Oprah's couch? Is that asking too much? Is the movie business so flush with charismatic stars who can carry a picture that it can afford to eat its young? I don't think so. If you doubt Cruise's skills in the star department, "Knight and Day" should make you a believer. It's hardly a perfect film, not even close, but it is the most entertaining made-for-adults studio movie of the summer, and one of the reasons it works at all is the great skill and commitment Cruise brings to the starring role.
NEWS
November 10, 2011 | By Nicole Sperling, Los Angeles Times
Viola Davis has long considered herself a cynic. It's a reflection of the 16 years she has spent in an industry that does little to support the career of black women. It's being a part of a Hollywood that continually asks her to play the "urban single mother. " One that honors the movie "Precious" but does little to make another one like it. So it was with great apprehension that the 46-year-old Davis took on the role of the uneducated Southern maid Aibileen in the film adaptation of the bestselling novel "The Help.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 31, 2011 | By Nicole Sperling, Los Angeles Times
The leading ladies of the upcoming film "The Help" — Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain — sat down with The Times last week to discuss their movie, race, and being women in Hollywood. Based on the novel of the same name, "The Help" is set in 1960s Mississippi and arrives in theaters Aug. 10. Stone plays Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, a career-minded college grad who persuades a group of black maids to tell their stories so she can publish them.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 23, 2010 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Why is everyone giving Tom Cruise such a hard time? Can't we just forget about what happened on Oprah's couch? Is that asking too much? Is the movie business so flush with charismatic stars who can carry a picture that it can afford to eat its young? I don't think so. If you doubt Cruise's skills in the star department, "Knight and Day" should make you a believer. It's hardly a perfect film, not even close, but it is the most entertaining made-for-adults studio movie of the summer, and one of the reasons it works at all is the great skill and commitment Cruise brings to the starring role.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 13, 2010 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
The recent parade of Hollywood stars on Broadway has allowed theater critics to indulge in their two favorite pastimes — grousing and fawning. The hypocrisy is perfectly natural: Standards need to be upheld while luminaries are there to be adored. Yet pity the poor conflicted reviewer — committed to "The Theatuh" on the one hand, swept up in the tidal surge of celebrity charisma on the other. I've always maintained that a good actor is a good actor. But famous novices and returning legends need to choose their theatrical ventures wisely.
NEWS
February 18, 2009
Marisa Tomei got lots of attention for taking off her clothes in "The Wrestler," and Penelope Cruz seems to be the critics' favorite to win for her role in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," but in the supporting actress category, everyone's got a shot at winning. Just look at Tomei, who came out of nowhere to win it in 1993. This year, it's still anybody's game -- Amy Adams, Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis, above, are all in the running. See our panelists' last-minute changes at TheEnvelope.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 23, 2009 | Lisa Rosen
It's been a big week. On Thursday, at an ungodly hour, the Academy Award nominations were announced. And two days earlier, there was some excitement on the East Coast as well. President Barack Obama was inaugurated on the Capitol steps, in front of a sea of people from every demographic. Viola Davis, a newly crowned supporting actress nominee for her role as Mrs. Miller in "Doubt," was watching the scene in tears at home in Los Angeles with her husband.
NEWS
December 10, 2008 | Lisa Rosen, Rosen is a freelance writer.
Viola Davis has played roles without names for years. She was Mother in Hospital in "World Trade Center." Policewoman in "Kate and Leopold." Social Worker in "Traffic." She at least got a first name, Eva May, in "Antwone Fisher," but that was all. Though she was in only one scene and barely spoke a word, her portrayal of a broken woman in that film was transcendent, garnering her a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 31, 2011 | By Nicole Sperling, Los Angeles Times
The leading ladies of the upcoming film "The Help" — Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain — sat down with The Times last week to discuss their movie, race, and being women in Hollywood. Based on the novel of the same name, "The Help" is set in 1960s Mississippi and arrives in theaters Aug. 10. Stone plays Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, a career-minded college grad who persuades a group of black maids to tell their stories so she can publish them.
NEWS
December 10, 2008 | Lisa Rosen, Rosen is a freelance writer.
Viola Davis has played roles without names for years. She was Mother in Hospital in "World Trade Center." Policewoman in "Kate and Leopold." Social Worker in "Traffic." She at least got a first name, Eva May, in "Antwone Fisher," but that was all. Though she was in only one scene and barely spoke a word, her portrayal of a broken woman in that film was transcendent, garnering her a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 6, 2004 | Daryl H. Miller, Times Staff Writer
In 1905 New York City, an African American seamstress spends hour after hour at a sewing machine to make gorgeous garments for her clients, while she wears plain, inexpensive clothes. "I been working since I was 9 years old," 35-year-old Esther Mills recalls, "with barely a day's rest." Down in Panama, George Armstrong risks death daily to help dig the canal that will become an engineering marvel and an economic engine.
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