Viola Davis’s Oscar Nomination

Viola Davis’s Oscar Nomination

Viola Davis leads the way in a different kind of battle royal.

For two hours the cameras had been rolling. Viola Davis was on stage in a glitzy black gown to receive her third Oscar nomination, and her co-stars and fellow Oscar contenders were on the red carpet in their own elegant gowns and tuxedos.

The two hours, though, would be a far more modest affair. Davis, who won best supporting actress at the Golden Globes, had agreed to compete in a dance-off against Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé and her mother, Janet, an accomplished ballet dancer; the former couple also teamed up to dance against each other in 2015’s “La Isla Bonita,” which earned best picture. Davis, who first starred in the movie in 2002 in her teens, said, “I never had the idea of doing something like this before, but it’s really exciting.”

JLo and her mom stepped out of their $70,000 Valentino gowns to join the rest of the cast onstage at the Dolby Theatre, where the winner receives an Oscar-qualifying performance from the host, Reese Witherspoon, in the winner’s category. In the end, Lopez was declared the winner. She took home $20,000 in cash.

Davis was already the face of the best movies award, as she was the star of “Moonlight” and had won three Oscars for playing the iconic Queen Bey in “Beau Travail,” which earned her both best actress and best supporting actress nods. As a child, she told Time, “I always wanted to do this, and I always knew I was going to do this.”

She said she always thought she would become an actress, and she went to acting camp when she was young. “I always wanted to be on stage, and I knew I wanted to be on the stage,” she said.

But when she moved to New York at age 16, she says she could not get a foot in the door. “I was just working at a job where I wasn’t supposed to be,” she said.

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