Viola Davis is turning 52 today. She studied theater at Rhode Island College and then did further study at Juilliard. She made her film debut in 1996 in a brief appearance in The Substance of Fire, and then had small parts in Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight and Traffic, and a more substantial role in the director’s Solaris in 2002. These days, many people will recognize Davis for her roles in some big budget films, such as Knight and Day, Blackhat, and especially Suicide Squad.
However, her stature as an actress is tied most of all to the three roles for which she has been an Oscar nominee. Her first nomination came for the role of Mrs. Miller in John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, and her second, her only Best Actress nomination, was as Aibileen Clark in The Help. Earlier this year, she won her first Oscar, Best Supporting Actress, for the role of Rose Maxson in Fences.