Viola Davis as Gertrude "Ma" Rainey in Netflix's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"
Viola Davis as Gertrude “Ma” Rainey in Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

The Palm Springs International Film Awards announced that Viola Davis is the recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

“Viola Davis is one of the most celebrated actors of her generation from her powerful roles on stage and screen including Fences and How to Get Away With Murder. In her latest film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Davis fully embodies the famous blues singer Ma Rainey in an explosive and memorable performance, which is sure to receive an Academy Award nomination. It’s our honor to present the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress to Viola Davis,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner.

Past winners of the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress include last year’s Best Actress Academy Award winner Renée Zellweger, along with Halle Berry, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Olivia Colman, Marion Cotillard, Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Saoirse Ronan, and Charlize Theron.

Davis joins this year’s previously announced honoree Riz Ahmed (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor), Andra Day (Breakthrough Performance Award), Anthony Hopkins (Career Achievement Award), Carey Mulligan (International Star Award), Leslie Odom, Jr. (Spotlight Award, Actor), Gary Oldman (Chairman’s Award), Chloé Zhao (Director of the Year Award) and The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Vanguard Award). The Festival and Film Awards Gala will not take place as an in-person event this year, but honoree selections will be announced to recognize this year’s great performances and Entertainment Tonight will air a tribute to the honorees scheduled on February 11th and February 25th.

Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), her ambitious horn player (Chadwick Boseman) and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable “Mother of the Blues.” Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play. The film from Netflix directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the film is produced by Fences Oscar® nominees Denzel Washington and Todd Black. Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Michael Potts, Taylour Paige and Dusan Brown co-star alongside Grammy® winner Branford Marsalis’ score. For her performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Davis has received a Film Tribute Award from the Gotham Awards and Best Actress from the Black Film Critics Circle Award, Chicago Indie Critics Awards and Philadelphia Film Critics Circle Awards. She also received Golden Globe and SAG Best Actress nominations.

Viola Davis is one of the most respected and celebrated actors of her generation, and the first black actress to win Tony (Fences and King Hedley II), Oscar (Fences) and Emmy (How to Get Away with Murder) awards. Her film credits include Out of Sight, Solaris, Antwone Fisher, Doubt, The Help, Ender’s Game, Prisoners, Beautiful Creatures, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Get on Up, Lila & Eve, The Suicide Squad, Widows, Troop Zero, along with TV credits How to Get Away with Murder, United States of Tara, Law& Order: Special Victims Unit and Scandal.

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