Viola Davis Wins SAG Award, Thanks ABC for Casting ’49-year-old Dark Skin African-American Woman’

Actress receives honor for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for her role in “How to Get Away with Murder”

Last Updated: January 25, 2015 @ 8:04 PM

Viola Davis won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Sunday, and thanked ABC executives for giving “a 49-year-old dark skin African American woman” the chance to play a “sexualized, messy, mysterious woman.”

In an emotional speech, the actress said, “When I tell my daughter stories at night, inevitably a few things happen. Number one I use my imagination, I always start with life then I build from there. Then the other thing that happens is she always says, ‘Mommy can you put me in the story?'” Davis told an audience made up of her peers, “It starts from the top up.”

“I would 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 skin African American woman who looks like me,” Davis continued. “Thank you for all the people who love me exactly how God made me.”

Davis, who was nominated for a Golden Globe this year for the same role, beat Claire Danes (“Homeland”), Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife”), Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”), Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey”) and Robin Wright (“House of Cards”) in a category normally reserved for five contenders. A tie in the nomination process led to six nominees.

This is Davis’ second SAG Award. The two-time Oscar nominee scored her first “Actor” in 2012 when members of the guild named “The Help” Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

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