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Viola Davis Ascends to EGOT Status at the 2023 Grammy Awards

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
The multi-hyphenate actress won her first Grammy on Sunday, cementing her place in entertainment history — learn more about how she got here.

Viola Davis just achieved something only 17 other human beings in the history of the entertainment industry can say they’ve also accomplished. On Sunday, the prolific, acclaimed actress took home a Grammy Award for the audiobook version of her memoir, Finding Me, officially cementing her EGOT status. Given to entertainers who win Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards, Davis is just the third Black woman to score the ultra-prestigious honor.

Davis won Tony Awards in 2001 and 2010, the first for Best Featured Actress In A Play for her performance in King Hedley II before winning again in 2010 for Best Leading Actress in A Play for August Wilson’s Fences. In 2015, the Juilliard alum won an Emmy for her starring role in the ABC drama How To Get Away With Murder before winning an Academy Award in 2017 after starring alongside Denzel Washington in the film adaptation of Fences.

Her 2015 Emmy award made Davis the first Black woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama. Even before winning her Oscar for Fences, she became the first Black actress to be nominated for three Academy Awards.

In a January interview with the Recording Academy, Davis said earning the coveted EGOT status would be a “huge accomplishment.”

“Oh, my God,” Davis said Sunday. “I wrote this book to honor the six-year-old Viola, to honor her, to honor her life, her joy, her trauma, her everything… I think that everybody wants their life to mean something. I believe in the Cherokee birth blessing, which is, ‘May you live long enough to know why you were born.’ I do believe that you literally wanna blow a hole through this world in whatever way you can.

“A lot of people don’t know how to do that. A lot of people haven’t found that thing that they’re passionate about, that they can do. Some have. But we all are looking for that, blowing a hole through this earth before we leave it. I think about that in my work a lot. I really found that thing that I love to do. So I always wanna make it meaningful.”

Viola Davis EGOT Timeline

2001: Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for King Hedley II

2010: Second Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for Fences

2015: Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for How to Get Away With Murder

2017: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Fences

2023: Grammy Award for Best Audio Book, Narration & Storytelling Recording for Finding Me

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About The Author
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. She began her career in sports journalism with bylines at SB Nation, USA Today, and most recently Yahoo. She received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Truman State University, and when she's not watching old clips of Serena Williams' best matches, she is likely perfecting her signature chocolate chip cookie recipe or preparing a traditional Cameroonian meal.