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Viola Davis: Potential key firsts and a big second this Oscar season

A scene from "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"
Viola Davis stars in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
(David Lee / Netflix)

Viola Davis is a sure bet for a lead actress Oscar nomination for her performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” The nomination itself would break ground, and a win would mark an important first, as well as a highly significant second.

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This would be Davis’ fourth nomination, after her supporting Oscar for “Fences” (2016), supporting
nomination for “Doubt” (2008) and lead nomination for “The Help” (2011). She would be the most nominated Black actress in Oscar history.

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Were Davis to win, she would become the first Black actress with multiple Oscars.

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A Davis victory also would mark only the second time a Black woman won a lead Oscar, after Halle Berry’s win for “Monster’s Ball” in 2002.

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Academy Awards ceremonies occurred before Berry won her Oscar.

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Ceremonies have happened since Berry won.


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