Viola Davis Wins SAG Award, Thanks Producers for Casting a “49-Year-Old, Dark-Skinned Woman” in Jab to New York Times Critic

There’s no beating Keating! At the 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards, Viola Davis took home the coveted Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series award for her role as the no-nonsense law professor Annalise Keating in ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder on Sunday, Jan. 25. 

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Overcome with emotion, the two-time Oscar nominee took to the stage to express her gratitude. 

Viola at SAGS
Viola Davis accepts the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 25.

“It starts from the top up,” she began. “So I’d like to thank Paul Lee, Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Bill D’Elia, and Peter Nowalk for thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old dark-skinned African-American woman who looks like me.”

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Davis didn’t stop there, adding, “And thank you to all the people who love me exactly how God made me, and that’s my beautiful husband Julius, my 4-year-old daughter at home, Genesis, and my mother, May Alice Davis. Thank you so much.”

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Her comments were a not-so-subtle jab at the New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley, who called Davis “less classically beautiful than [Scandal‘s Kerry] Washington” in a controversial piece back in September 2014.

Viola How to get away with murder
Viola Davis plays Annalise Keating on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder.

Davis also mocked the column when she won the People’s Choice Award earlier this month. 

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“Thank you Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, and Peter Nowalk for thinking of a leading lady who looks like my classic beauty,” she said, smiling. “I’m so happy that people have accepted me in this role at this stage in my career.”

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