Viola Davis as Ma Rainey in the Netflix film based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play by August Wilson.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM FILM
The first black actress to win a Tony, Emmy, and Oscar, Viola Davis is the recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom from The Palm Springs International Film Festival.
“Viola Davis is one of the most celebrated actors of her generation from her powerful roles on stage and screen including Fences and How to Get Away With Murder. In her latest film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Davis fully embodies the famous blues singer Ma Rainey in an explosive and memorable performance, which is sure to receive an Academy Award nomination,” says Festival Chairman Harold Matzner.
Past winners of the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress include last year’s Best Actress Academy Award winner Renée Zellweger, along with Halle Berry, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Olivia Colman, Marion Cotillard, Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Saoirse Ronan, and Charlize Theron.
Davis joins this year’s previously announced honorees Riz Ahmed (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor), Carey Mulligan (International Star Award), Gary Oldman (Chairman’s Award) and Chloé Zhao (Director of the Year Award), Leslie Odom, Jr., Anthony Hopkins (Career Achievement Award), the cast and director from The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Vanguard Award), and Andra Day (Breakthrough Performance Award).
The Festival and Film Awards Gala will not take place as an in-person event this year, but honoree selections will be announced to recognize this year’s great performances. Entertainment Tonight will air a tribute to the honorees scheduled on Feb. 11 and Feb. 25.
Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey (Davis), her ambitious horn player (Chadwick Boseman) and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable “Mother of the Blues.” Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play.
The film from Netflix directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the film is produced by Fences Oscar nominees Denzel Washington and Todd Black. Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Michael Potts, Taylour Paige and Dusan Brown co-star alongside Grammy winner Branford Marsalis’ score. For her performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Davis has received a Film Tribute Award from the Gotham Awards and Best Actress from the Black Film Critics Circle Award, Chicago Indie Critics Awards and Philadelphia Film Critics Circle Awards. She also received Golden Globe and SAG Best Actress nominations.
Davis is one of the most respected and celebrated actors of her generation, and the first black actress to win Tony (Fences and King Hedley II), Oscar (Fences) and Emmy (How to Get Away with Murder) awards. Her film credits include Out of Sight, Solaris, Antwone Fisher, Doubt, The Help, Ender’s Game, Prisoners, Beautiful Creatures, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Get on Up, Lila & Eve, The Suicide Squad, Widows, Troop Zero, along with TV credits How to Get Away with Murder, United States of Tara, Law& Order: Special Victims Unit and Scandal.