BOXOFFICE spoke to Viola Davis about her commanding performance opposite Meryl Streep in Doubt.

Holding Her Own

on December 24, 2008 by Marco Cerritos

At this point in the season, actress Viola Davis is the frontrunner to take home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her brief and commanding performance in Doubt.

Sharing the bulk of her screen time with Meryl Streep, Davis plays a working class mother coming to grips with the possibility of her son being molested at a Catholic school. When the subject of a certain golden statue comes up, she jokingly alludes to the hard part being over.

“I have to say when I envision winning an Oscar, I envision getting up there and the first words out of my mouth are ‘it’s all downhill from here,’” Davis told B OXOFFICE.

The Juliard trained actress has been doing powerful character work for years, most notably working with director Steven Soderbergh on Out of Sight and Solaris.

Davis has maintained a balance between television roles and film roles, but her relative anonymity may soon come to an end if her hot streak continues. For many, Davis steals the movie from heavyweights Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. Still, Davis remains humble. She believes that working with Streep helped raise her game as an actress.

“She’s not the kind of actress that comes in and gives you a whole lesson of acting, verbally," said Davis. "She gives you a great lesson of acting through example maybe but she has too much respect for other actors to tell you hot to act. What she does is she comes in and is 100% committed to your work as much as she is her own and she’s going to try to be a great partner and how she’s going to be a great partner is by listening to you, your interpretation of your character, what you want to do, respecting that, then she’s going to come in with what she’s done. She’ll still be affected by you and everything and that equals a great experience because they say you’re only as good as your partner, she’s a fantastic partner.”

If and when the Oscar nomination comes she believes it will be the first step in accessing more film roles and having more choices as an actress similar to the ones given to Angela Bassett, a personal role model. “I’m jealous of this actress for playing this role, Angela Bassett in Strange Days. I thought she was fabulous in it. She was beautiful and vulnerable and I totally bought her as a kick-ass action woman.”

Doubt is now playing in theatres across the country.

CLICK HERE to listen to our entire interview with Viola Davis.

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