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The 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards - Press Room

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Fences and How To Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis accepted the first-ever #SeeHer Award at the Critics’ Choice Awards Sunday night. As usual, she was a vision to behold with a speech we’ll not soon forget.

The award recognizes Davis’ consistent work in portraying three-dimensional women, so she joked, “It’s hard to accept being a role model for women when you’re trying to lose weight.”

Davis goes on to explain how taking on these characters, especially that of Annalise in HTGAWM, helped her to fully accept herself. She told the audience, “I’ve always discovered the heart of my characters by asking, ‘Why?’ You know, when I was handed Annalise Keating, I said, ‘She’s sexy, she’s mysterious.’ I’m used to playing women who gotta gain 40 pounds and wear an apron. So, I said, ‘Oh god, I gotta lose weight. I gotta learn to walk like Kerry Washington in heels. I gotta lose my belly.’ And then I asked myself, ‘Well, why do I have to do all that?’”

Really resonating with the crowd, Davis concluded the “privilege of a lifetime is being who you are,” adding, “I think my strongest power is that at 10:00, every Thursday night I want you to come into my world, I’m not going to come into yours. You come into my world and you sit with me, my size, my hue, my age, and you sit and you experience and I think that’s the only power I have as an artist. So, I thank you for this award and I do see her — just like I see me.”

Ahead of her speech, Davis was greeted with a round of applause and standing ovation. Kerry Washington, Denzel Washington, and more were seen cheering her on. What a woman.

Viola Davis Accepts Critics’ Choice #SeeHer Award–Watch Her Powerful Speech  was originally published on