Viola Davis Doesn’t Credit #OscarsSoWhite With Surge Of Black Nominees

Entertainment

Black stars will be fully present at the Oscars this year, but the surge of melanin has nothing to do with #OscarsSoWhite, if you let Viola Davis tell it.

After taking home the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Sunday (Jan. 29), the Fences star weighed in on whether the change is tied to the backlash the Academy has received in past years for its dire lack of diversity.

READ: Viola Davis, Mahershala Ali, Denzel Washington And More All Earn Oscar Nominations

“Response to OscarSoWhite? No. I think that every nominee from Naomie Harris to Octavia Spencer to Hidden Figures to Fences to Moonlight to Mahershala Ali are up there because they deserve to be there,” the actress responded at a press conference. “They’re not there because of the color of their skin. They put in the work.”

The Oscar nominee stressed that only time will reveal if the boost in representation is a true sign of progress. “‘And now what?'” she continued. “Is it just a trend to talk about inclusion (and I’d rather say inclusion than diversity)? Or is it going to be a norm? That we understand that we’re all a part of the narrative, that all of our stories deserve to be told?”

READ: Hollywood’s Diversity Problem Isn’t So Black And White

Davis, who made history with her third Oscar nomination, joins Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) in the Best Supporting Actress category, as their respective films contend for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay on Feb. 26.