Viola Davis made history Sunday night at the 67th Annual Emmy Awards for excellence in television. Davis won the trophy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her searing portrayal of law professor Annalise Keating in the debut season of How to Get Away With Murder. It was the first time in the history of the awards that a woman of color had won the Emmy award for best actress in a drama series. She was joined by two other Black women and one black male who also received acting awards on the live telecast on Fox TV.
Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba won in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category. She won last year for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy. Regina King was named Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie, for her work on American Crime.
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series went to Reg E. Cathey, for his work on House of Cards.
In her emotionally enthralling acceptance speech, Davis spoke eloquently about the road to her victory: ” ‘In my mind I see a line, and over that line I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line. But I can’t seem to get there, no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.’
“That was Harriett Tubman in the 1800’s. And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people — Ben Shorewood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes! People who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black!
“And to the Taraji P. Hensons, the Kerry Washingtons, the Halle Berrys, the Nicole Beharis, the Meagan Goodes, to Gabrielle Union… Thank you for taking us over that line… thank you… for the television academy — thank you!”
HBO’s Game of Thrones was the big winner of the night, taking home the award for Best Drama Series; Peter Dinklage won as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series; David Nutter won for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for the recent season finale episode “Mother’s Mercy,” written by series creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for that episode.
HBO claimed the “Lion’s” share of awards on the night. Outstanding Television Movie went to Bessie, the biopic about legendary blues singer Bessie Smith starring Queen Latifah. Outstanding Comedy Series went to Veep, the HBO comedy based on the British series The Thick of It
, which starred Peter Capaldi, who is currently starring as ‘The Doctor’ on the longest running drama in television history — Doctor Who.