Viola Davis and Ma Rainey: Know Your Worth, Sister.

By Jen Yamato Nov. 19, 20207 AM

Viola Davis has collected an Academy Award, an Emmy, two Tonys and dozens more acting kudos, and now another powerhouse role has propelled her to the top of the 2021 best actress Oscar race: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, the unapologetically brash real-life Southern blues singer at the center of a tempestuous 1927 Chicago recording session in the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

It’s a juicy role that has landed Davis in the Oscar conversation along with her costar, the late Chadwick Boseman, who dazzles in his final performance as a hotheaded young horn player with eyes for Ma’s girlfriend and radical new ideas for Ma’s music. (Netflix unveils the film in a limited theatrical run Nov. 25 and begins streaming it Dec. 18.) But even the formidable Davis admits she wasn’t initially sure she could pull off the swaggering blues legend.

“There’s a typecasting that happens in the business, and after a while you start to typecast yourself and think of 50 million other people who could have played the role,” says Davis, 55, whose six-season, Emmy-winning star turn on the ABC hit drama “How To Get Away With Murder” concluded earlier this year. “But that’s not what acting is. It’s a transformative art form. It’s about taking whatever you have and using it to transform into a character that is completely different than you.” click on the link for more–>