Donna Emmett, Law & Order: SVU, 2003-2008.
Donna Emmett, Law & Order: SVU, 2003-2008.Nicole Rivelli—NBC/Getty Images
Donna Emmett, Law & Order: SVU, 2003-2008.
Mrs. Miller in Doubt, 2008.
Delia Shiraz in Eat Pray Love, 2010.
Aibileen Clark in The Help, 2011.
Nona Alberts in Won't Back Down, 2012.
Nancy Birch in Prisoners, 2013.
Susie Brown in Get On Up, 2014.
Professor Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder, 2014-present.
FBI Agent Carol Barrett in Blackhat, 2015.
Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad, 2016.
Rose Maxson in Fences, 2016.
Donna Emmett, Law & Order: SVU, 2003-2008.
Nicole Rivelli—NBC/Getty Images
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See Viola Davis' Best Roles

Feb 24, 2017

Viola Davis made Oscars history this season when she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Rose Maxson in Fences. She not only became the first African-American woman with three Oscar nominations, surpassing Whoopi Goldberg, but she is also poised to become the first black actor — male or female — to win the Triple Crown of Acting (one each of a competitive Oscar, Emmy and Tony). A win for Davis would mean, above all, recognition of her fierce talent as a performer, but it would also give audiences another chance to enjoy one of her unfailingly powerful acceptance speeches. Here, TIME looks back at Davis' most memorable roles.

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