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Viola Davis - NBR Best Breakthrough Performance

The National Board of Review (NBR) has announced its 2008 winners - a list that some consider a precursor to the Oscars; for example, last year's pick for best film, No Country for Old Men, went on to win best picture at the Oscars.

The organization has chosen
Viola Davis for the year's Best Breakthrough Performance By An Actress, for her role in the forthcoming movie Doubt.

Davis was also part of a
Best Ensemble Cast win along with cast members Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, also for Doubt.

While I applaud the NBR for recognizing Davis's work in
Doubt, the idea that hers is a "breakthrough performance," insinuating a sudden discovery of her talents, is unfortunate, when one considers how long she has been in the business, and the solid work she's done with each outing.

Breakthrough? No NBR, I wouldn't call it that. This is an award that's been long overdue. However, I'm sure Ms Davis will graciously accept the honor, even though it's a little too late in its delivery.

I've read several reviews of the film which doesn't open until the 12th, and there has been nothing but unanimous praise for Viola's work in the film, even though, she's only on screen for 2 scenes! 2 scenes! Those must be some powerful, memorable scenes, and I'm sure they are.

I've seen her work in a variety of roles in films past, and she's almost always captivating, regardless of what she's given to do. The critical consensus is that she will compete along with Taraji P Henson - whose own limited work in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is getting plenty of praise - for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar next spring, which would be a coup. I don't recall any time in history when 2 African American women were strong contenders in the same category for one of the major Academy Awards.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to seeing both
Doubt and Benjamin Button over the next 2 weeks, and you can guarantee that I'll be posting my thoughts on this blog, and talking about them on my podcast.

The NBR awards will be handed out Jan. 14 in a New York gala hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.


  1. Ruth said...

    You left off her powerful single scene in Denzel's Antwone Fisher.

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