Viola Davis has become the target of online fodder following her performance as Michelle Obama in The First Lady; audiences and critics alike pointed out the strange and strained-looking way she held her face while playing the former first lady. Davis’ Michelle has heavily pursed lips and high arched eyebrows.
The Emmy-winner tells the BBC that it’s “incredibly hurtful when people say negative things about your work.”
“How do you move on from the hurt, from failure?” she adds. “But you have to. Not everything is going to be an awards-worthy performance.”
“Critics absolutely serve no purpose. And I’m not saying that to be nasty, either,” Davis says.
“They always feel like they’re telling you something that you don’t know,” she continues. “Somehow that you’re living a life that you’re surrounded by people who lie to you and ‘I’m going to be the person that leans in and tells you the truth,’ so it gives them an opportunity to be cruel to you. But ultimately I feel like it is my job as a leader to make bold choices. Win or fail it is my duty to do that.”
It’s not like Davis does not have a long list of lauded and awarded performances throughout her career, spanning from her Oscar win for her performance in Denzel Washington’s Fences, to the Emmy she earned for her role in How To Get Away With Murder. The actor has also received Academy Award nominations for her work in Doubt, The Help, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Not to mention, she’s also a two-time Tony winner for King Hedley II and the stage version of Fences.