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Viola Davis’ stunning Oscars speech just made everyone teary, including Denzel

She won best supporting actress for her role in 'Fences.'


Tess Cagle


Posted on Feb 26, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 10:32 pm CDT

Viola Davis took home her first Oscar Sunday night, winning best supporting actress for her role in Fences. After getting nominated two other times for an Oscar, Davis was clearly emotional during her acceptance speech.

“There’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered—and that’s the graveyard,” Davis said. “People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell? And I say, ‘Exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories.’ We are the only profession to celebrate what it means to live a life. So here’s to August Wilson, who exhumed—and exalted—ordinary people.”

After giving a nod to Wilson—the playwright and screenwriter of Fences —Davis continued to thank other people in her life, including Denzel Washington who acted alongside her.

“And oh captain, my captain, Denzel Washington,” she said.

Just as Davis gave praise to Washington, the cameras shifted to show him welling up.


Washington wasn’t the only one emotionally affected by Davis’ speech. Viewers on Twitter shared their feelings about Davis’ heart-wrenching speech—and the room couldn’t keep it together.



Aside from best supporting actress, the film Fences is nominated for best picture, best actor (Washington), and best adapted screenplay (August Wilson). 

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*First Published: Feb 26, 2017, 10:48 pm CST