Tag Archives: Viola Davis

The Many Faces of Versatile Actress Viola Davis

Written by Cheryl Rock



On the surface, you may not think that Viola Davis and Gabrielle Union have much in common. Well there are a few similarities and a connecting theme. They both starred in a CBS Production called City of Angels, a hospital based drama with a predominately African-American cast.  Which unfortunately didn’t last very long, two seasons in fact, back in 2000. They both now star in hugely successful TV shows, and they both feel that black women have a lot more to offer.

Viola has been building up recognition for her roles steadily over the years and that has accumulated in many award nominations and wins for her work, including Screen Actors Guild for The Help and a TONY for King Hedley II play.

Doubt_Viola_DaviesAnd with her recent ABC TV smash hit “How to Get Away With Murder” and the up and coming Harriet Tubman project for HBO. Viola is surely going to continue reaching new heights.

After a few feature film parts, Davis received critical praise with her small part in 2002’s Antwone Fisher.  Viola plays the mother of the navy sailor, the one scene in which she had, she owned and the power in which she conveys with hardly any words was very moving and expressed all she needed to. That performance caused her to be nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

As an African-American actress, Viola continues to look for more meaningful and purposeful roles and perhaps start up some projects of her own. She has been quoted as saying “It is a time when Black women now have no choice but to take matters in their own hands and create images for ourselves. It’s up to us to look for the material, it’s up to us to produce it ourselves, and it’s up to us to choose the stories.”

Viola is set to portray Harriett Tubman, a slave who led more than 300 slaves to freedom in the North and fought in the Civil War. She will be working with DreamWorks studios who produced the hit The Viola-Davis-Hot-PicturesHelp.  Viola will be an Executive Producer on the project, which is in development at the moment. It is based on the biography ‘Bound For The Promised Land’.

Davies is currently filming DC comics superhero film ‘Suicide Squad’ and plays the role of Amanda Waller, starring alongside Will Smith, Jared Leto, Ben Affleck and Margot Robbie. The film brings to life the comic book series where a secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for mercy.

Her being a comic book and Wonder Woman fan, indeed did drive her decision to want to be part of this project, she says “I love the whole DC Comics universe. I traded comic books as a kid so all of that appeals to me. When you dream about being an actor as a kid, that’s what you dream about. That’s like play acting: being the superhero, getting the gun; it plays into that fantasy.”

The release date for the film is to be expected in the summer of 2016.

2015 Early Releases Box Office Report

Written by Graeme Wood



Although the critical acclaim for Selma is still making headlines its box office power seems to be slowing down somewhat, falling from the US Top 10 which is currently being topped by Fifty Shades of Grey, Kingsman; Secret Service and the Spongebob Movie. Paramount should be pleased with ‘Selma’s overall performance through its total US gross standing at $48,494,000 since its opening in December. The film has also performed well in the UK, now entering its third week of release, with a gross of £1,763,050, an initial £70,000 of this coming from its early preview screenings.

In comparison to the years other Oscar nominated movies Selma is behind American Sniper and The Theory of Everything but ahead of Whiplash (grossing £573,000). This time last year, 12 Years A Slave in comparison debuted with £2.51m but 12 Years had a Bafta nomination and huge marketing campaign behind it.

Meanwhile back in the states, Black or White the Kevin Costner, Viola Davis drama has made a strong entrance at No 10 with a US Box Office total so far of $20,090,000, just ahead of that at No.9 sits the Kevin Hart comedy ‘The Wedding Ringer’ with a total of $60,043,000.

The UK box-office for early February was led by Disney’s Big Hero 6, Kingsman and the Shaun the Sheep Movie but Fifty Shades of Grey, launched over Valentine’s Weekend opened to big business taking in £4.6 million on its opening night and $94.4m on its US debut. Impressive figures that distributor Universal Pictures is bound to be pleased with.

The Theory of Everything continues to do well at the UK box office, no doubt helped by its BAFTA nominations and award wins, with a current box office total of £18,944,146 and seven weeks after opening still playing on a lot of multiplexes. In comparison though the critically panned and predictable Liam Neeson thriller ‘Taken 3’ has also managed to bring in huge numbers with a box office total of £17,180,518, after only 6 weeks on release.

In the US Chris Rock’s ‘Top Five’ has performed well giving its distributor Paramount who bid for the rights a gross of $25,317,291 following its opening in December 2014, though for comparison Kevin Harts The Wedding Ringer which opened mid-January in the US has so far pulled in a gross of $59,743,000 the film opens in the UK this week, Top Five will be on UK screens sometime in May (a film Kush Promotions should be marketing).

Comedies aimed specifically at the African / American market continue to perform well at the US box office and account for about 13% of the US domestic film market. December alone had seven African-American films ranking among the Top 100 films and grossing nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in the domestic market.

So what else should we be looking forward to at the cinema over the next month or so? Well first up we have Michael Mann’s Blackhat action thriller, starring Chris (Thor) Hemsworth and Viola Davis. Set amongst a global back drop the plot involves a blackmail scheme to hack and blow up nuclear plants. This should prove entertaining if predictable fare for audiences and in the US the film under performed scoring only $7,89,395 at the box office.

View the trailer: Blackhat

Winners & Losers at Golden Globes & BAFTA Exemptions

Written by: Graeme Wood


The announcement of the nominees for this year’s BAFTA Film Awards saw some obvious commercial and critical nods but, and more surprisingly, saw several startling omissions. While box office headliners The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Boyhood and Birdman were shoe-ins for Best Film and leading actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne were obvious contenders for Best Actor, it was more surprising to see Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” lead the nominations with 11 nods including Best Film, Original Screenplay and Best Actor for Ralph Fiennes.

Acclaimed Belfast thriller ’71 was only nominated in the Outstanding British Film category, along with Pride, Paddington and Under The Skin. Yann Demange director of ’71 has been nominated for Outstanding Debut by A British Director along with writer Gregory Burke.

The controversial omissions came with no nominations at all for the critically acclaimed civil rights drama ‘Selma’, although the film won’t be released in the UK until February it has already scored big in the US and apparently the panel have seen screeners of the film and it is eligible for this year’s awards. The snub appears all the more bizarre given the host of British talent on display in the movie – David Olywelo has already been nominated for several awards and his performance acclaimed by critics. There is also a further notable presence of Brit actors in the cast with Tim Roth, Tom Wilkinson and Carmen Ejogo.

Of concern now to the producers of Selma is that a reported 50 BAFTA Awards voters are also Academy Awards voters which may in turn lead to a lack of Oscar nominations for the film and its crew.

Mike Leigh’s biographical drama ‘Mr Turner’ had four BAFTA nominations though it was a surprise to see this miss out on inclusion in major categories such as Best Film and Best Actor for Timothy Spall’s acclaimed titular performance.

High profile American films “American Sniper” and “Unbroken” also missed out on nominations along with their directors Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie.

Elsewhere ‘Selma’ has featured heavily in this year’s other award lists with nominations for Best Actor, Best Film and the historic Best Director Golden Globe nomination for Ava DuVernay. The Globe Ceremony, was held on January 11th and despite high expectations for ‘Selma’ the film only managed to pick up the Award for Best Original Song – Glory written and performed by John Legend and Common.

The runaway success of the Globe’s was Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’, picking up the Gobes for Best Picture, Director and Best Supporting Actress going to Patricia Arquette for her performance in the film. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” managed to nab the award for Best Picture-Musical or Comedy only, while Britain’s Eddie Redmayne picked up the Best Actor Globe for his performance as Stephen Hawking in ‘The Theory of Everthing’. Michael Keaton picked up the award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his career defining performance in “Birdman”, while Julianna Moore picked up the Best Actress Drama award for “Still Alice” and Amy Adams came away with the Best Actress-Musical or Comedy Globe for her role in the Tim Burton directed ‘Big Eyes’.

A disappointing result then for supporters of “Selma” who felt the film deserved greater recognition particularly for its director and lead actor David Oyelowo. The film meanwhile has 8 nominations in the NAACP Image Awards, to be held on February 6th, including Outstanding Motion Picture, Best Actor, Director, Supporting Actor and Actress. The film will be up against Amma Asante’s “Belle” for Best Picture and Ava Duvernay will be up against Amma Asante who is also nominated for “Belle”. Gugu Mbatha Raw is nominated for Best Actress also for ‘Belle’ and faces competition from Quvenzhane Wallis, ‘Annie’, Taraji P.Henson, ‘No Good Deed’, Tessa Thompson, ‘Dear White People’, and Viola Davis ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”, strong competition indeed. ‘Selma’ has also picked up five nominations in the Independent Spirit Awards though surprisingly didn’t pick up any nominations from the Screen Actors Guild or the Producers Guild Awards. All eyes will now be on the much anticipated Oscar Nominations to be held on January 15th.

The BAFTA Film Awards will be held at London’s Royal Opera House on Sunday 8th February 2015.
Read The Guardian article on the BAFTA nominations here:

See a full list of the BAFTA 2015 nominations here:



All The Winners At The 2015 Golden Globes

Courtesy of www.buzzfeed.com
Written by: Emily Orley

Best Motion Picture Drama

Best Motion Picture Drama

IFC Films

Winner: Boyhood

The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama

Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama

Liam Daniel / Focus Features

Winner: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
David Oyelowo, Selma

Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama

Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama

Sony Classics

Winner: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical

Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical

20th Century Fox

Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Into the Woods
St. Vincent

Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical

Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Winner: Michael Keaton, Birdman

Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Bill Murray, St. Vincent
Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice
Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes

Best Actress in a TV Drama

Best Actress in a TV Drama

Mark Schafer / Showtime

Winner: Ruth Wilson, The Affair

Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Robin Wright, House Of Cards

Best Director

Best Director

IFC Films

Winner: Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ava Duvernay, Selma
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman

Best Actor in a TV Drama

Best Actor in a TV Drama

Nathaniel Bell / Netflix

Winner: Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Clive Owen, The Knick
Liev Schrieber, Ray Donovan
James Spader, The Blacklist
Dominic West, The Affair

Best TV Drama

Best TV Drama


Winner: The Affair, Showtime

Downton Abbey, PBS
Game of Thrones, HBO
The Good Wife, CBS
House of Cards, Netflix

Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie

Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie

Sundance TV

Winner: Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
Frances O’Connor, The Missing
Allison Tolman, Fargo

Best Foreign Language Film

Best Foreign Language Film

Sony Pictures Classics

Winner: Leviathan, Russia

Force Majeure Turist, Sweden
Gett: The Trial of Viviane, Israel
Ida, Poland/Denmark
Tangerines Mandariinid, Estonia

Best Actor in a TV Comedy

Best Actor in a TV Comedy

Amazon Studios

Winner: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Louis C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Ricky Gervais, Derek
William H. Macy, Shameless

Best Screenplay

Best Screenplay

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Winner: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo, Birdman

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture


Winner: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Best Animated Feature Film

Best Animated Feature Film

DreamWorks Animation

Winner: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Big Hero Six
The Book of Life
The Lego Movie

Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical

Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical

The Weinstein Company

Winner: Amy Adams, Big Eyes

Emily Blunt, Into the Woods
Helen Mirren, The Hundred-Foot Journey
Julianne Moore, Map to the Stars
Quvenzhané Wallis, Annie

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie

Jojo Whilden / HBO

Winner: Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart

Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Colin Hanks, Fargo
Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Best Original Song

Winner: “Glory,” John Legend and Common (Selma)

“Big Eyes,” Lana del Rey (Big Eyes)
“Mercy Is,” Patty Smith and Lenny Kaye (Noah)
“Opportunity,” Greg Kurstin, Sia Furler, and Will Gluck (Annie)
“Yellow Flicker Beat,” Lorde (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1)

Best Original Score

Best Original Score

Focus Features

Winner: Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything

Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Gone Girl
Antonio Sanchez, Birdman
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar

Best TV Comedy

Best TV Comedy


Winner: Transparent, Amazon

Girls, HBO
Jane The Virgin, The CW
Orange Is the New Black, Netflix
Silicon Valley, HBO

Best Actress in a TV Comedy

Best Actress in a TV Comedy

Tyler Golden/The CW

Winner: Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin

Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie

Chris Large/FX

Winner: Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo

Martin Freeman, Fargo
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart

Best Mini-Series or TV Movie

Best Mini-Series or TV Movie

Chris Large / FX

Winner: Fargo, FX

The Missing, Starz
The Normal Heart, HBO
Olive Kitteridge, HBO
True Detective, HBO

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

Winner: Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey

Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Allison Janney, Mom
Michelle Monaghan, True Detective

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Daniel McFadden

Winner: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

Angry Black Woman!

Written by Graeme Wood


Are All Black Women Seriously Angry; Especially When They Are Successful?

Here’s a slightly old news story but one that is still relevant and does need addressing in our global society. As some of you will have read back in September there was an angry social media storm following a New York Times article that characterised US TV writer Shonda Rhimes (currently even more famous for hit TV series “Scandal”) as a ‘tough angry black woman’.SHONDA-RHIMES-GILDED-LILLYS

Rhimes is the writer/creator behind some of the most successful series on America TV in recent years ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ ‘Private Practice’ and ‘Scandal’. Last month she launched her latest project ‘How To Get Away With Murder” starring Viola Davis (The Help) –. The controversial article by New York Times writer Alessandra Stanley suggested that Rhimes had based all her lead characters on her own persona of ‘an angry black woman’, while, in a back handed compliment, added she had done more for the image of African-American women than anyone else since Oprah.
Stanley focussed on Chandra Wilson’s Bailey character and Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope in Scandal, while omitting other leading characters, played by white actresses’, such as Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy.

The article praised Rhimes’ re-imagining of African-American women on television progressing their image from benign, reassuring characters like Clair Huxtable on ‘The Cosby Show’ but in the process painted Rhimes as a fierce, haughty authority figure unable to create characters other than those based on herself. Stanley also side swiped other black lead actresses’ of US TV Shows as mere side-kicks in comparison to those on Rhimes’ shows.

She also stated; As Annalise, Ms. Davis, 49, is sexual and even sexy, in a slightly menacing way, but the actress doesn’t look at all like the typical star of a network drama. Ignoring the narrow beauty 21MURDER-viola-davisstandards some African-American women are held to, Ms. Rhimes chose a performer who is older, darker-skinned and less classically beautiful than Ms. Washington, or for that matter Halle Berry, who played an astronaut on the summer mini-series “Extant.”

The reaction came thick and fast on Twitter with a clearly bemused Rhimes posting; “Wait. I’m Angry AND a ROMANCE WRITER!!?? I’m going to need to put down the internet and go dance this one out. Because ish is getting real.”

Actors from Rhimes’ shows also took to her defence on social media with Grey’s Anatomy’s Ellen Pompeo posting: “NY Times you set the world back with a review of a television show based around the RACE of the lead. Is the show good TV or not?”

Online sites all rushed to post articles slating the NY Times article and defending the varied nature of Rhimes’ characters, Stanley herself initially remained unrepentant insisting her profile of Rimes was actually more positive than deeming or racist and she had used a headline grabbing writing technique previously used in many other articles designed to draw the reader in before delivering her style of praise for the award winning work Shonda Rhimes has been widely acknowledged for in the International TV industry.

This is what Stanley had to say; “I didn’t think Times readers would take the opening sentence literally, because I so often write arch, provocative ledes that are then undercut or mitigated by the paragraphs that follow.”

The good news; “well as best as it could be” is that New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan eventually sided with those aggrieved by the Shonda ‘bombshell attack’ and concluded: “The readers and commentators are correct to protest this story. Intended to be in praise of Ms. Rhimes, it delivered that message in a condescending way that was – at best – astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch.”

How to Get Away With Murder

How to Get Away With Murder

It should be pointed out that at least three different editors at the NY Times read the article prior to given it the approval green light to go live – doesn’t that also tell us something about the ignorant short-sighted world we still live in.

Do you think Alessandra Stanley was misunderstood or do you believe people had a very good a reason to get upset?

You can read a few of the articles flying around in the fire-storm including the original NY Times article below:
Wrought in Rhimes’s Image
Viola Davis Plays Shonda Rhimes’s Latest Tough Heroine

And a TPM Livewire response here:

New York Times – Public Opinion Page (Editor’s response)

Alessandra Stanley defends her article

What if Shonda Rhimes is an Angry Black Woman? (by Hari Ziyad)

Renaissance 2014 Black Movie Preview


By ReBecca Theodore-Vachon
Dec 27, 2013

black movies 2014

2013 was a win-win for Black cinema with both critically acclaimed movies (“12 Years A Slave,” “Fruitvale Station”) and in the box office (“Best Man Holiday,” “The Butler”).  Now that Hollywood has gotten the message that movies with casts of color are indeed profitable, 2014 promises more dramas, romantic comedies and action thrillers for Black moviegoers.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our most anticipated projects for 2014:

“Ride Along” Starring- Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Tika Sumpter

UK Release Date: 07/03/2014

Fast-talking security guard Ben (Kevin Hart)  joins his cop brother-in-law James (Ice Cube)  on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying Angela (Tika Sumpter), James’ sister.


“About Last Night”  Starring- Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart

UK Release Date: 21/03/14

New love for two couples as they journey from the bar to the bedroom and are eventually put to the test in the real world.


“Repentance” Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Forest Whitaker, Anthony Mackie, Mike Epps

US Release Date: 02/28/2014

An earnest life-coach/author, Thomas Carter (Anthony Mackie), is mysteriously abducted by a deranged client, (Forest Whitaker) who delves into Thomas’ teachings and uses his spiritual messages of Karma – action and reaction (Vipaka), against him to terrorize him and his family for their past sins.


“The Single Moms Club” Starring: Nia Long, Tyler Perry, Amy Smart, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Terry Crews, Cocoa Brown

US Release Date: 03/14/2014

Brought together by a vandalism incident at their children’s school, a group of single mothers from different walks of life bond, and create a support group that helps them find comedy in the obstacles of life.


“A Haunted House 2″ Starring: Marlon Wayans, Liana Mendoza, Dave Sheridan, Iva La’Shawn

US Release Date: 03/28/2014

Having exorcised the demons of his ex, Malcolm (Marlon Wayans)  is starting fresh with his new girlfriend (Jaime Pressly) and her two children. After moving into their dream home, however, Malcolm is once again plagued by bizarre paranormal events.


“Belle” Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Susan Brown, Tom Coulston

UK Release Date: 13/06/2014

An illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle.


“Think Like A Man Too” Starring: Gabrielle Union, Megan Good, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy, Romany Malco, Kevin Hart

Release Date: 19/09/2014

All the couples are back for a wedding in Las Vegas, but plans for a romantic weekend go awry when their various misadventures get them into some compromising situations that threaten to derail the big event.



“Get On Up” Starring:  Chad Boseman, Tika Sumpter, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Jill Scott

US Release Date: 08/01/2014

A chronicle of James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.



“Addicted” Starring: Sharon Leal, Kat Graham, Boris Kodjoe, William Levy, Tasha Smith, Tyson Beckford

US Release Date: 09/05/2014

Based on Zane’s bestseller, a woman’s sex addiction threatens to ruin her family life.



“No Good Deed” Starring: Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson

US Release Date: 09/12/2014

A wife and mother of two (Taraji P. Henson), lives an ideal life that takes a turn when her family is threatened by a stranger who talks his way into her house, claiming car trouble. The unexpected invitation leaves her terrorized and fighting for survival.



“The Equalizer”
Starring – Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Melissa Leo, Marton Csokas

US Release Date: 09/26/2014

Denzel Washington and “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua reunite for their second feature. Washington plays a covert operative who, seeking redemption for his dark deeds, quits a CIA-like agency and puts a classified advertisement in the paper that reads simply: “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer”



“Annie” Starring: Quevanzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Dorian Missick, Cameron Diaz, Tracie Thoms, Rose Byrne

US Release Date: December 19, 2014


Source: http://theurbandaily.com/2013/12/27/2014-black-movie-preview/
© 2013