PARIS — Actress, producer and activist Viola Davis is set to add a new gong to her superlative track record: Kering’s Women in Motion award.
The luxury group has named Davis this year’s recipient ahead of the Cannes Film Festival, where she will be presented with the award on May 22 during a dinner co-chaired by Kering chairman François-Henri Pinault and festival executives Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux.
Davis, who holds the “triple crown of acting” as recipient of two Tony Awards, an Oscar and an Emmy, has been calling for greater inclusion in the film industry, gender equality and combatting the effects of poverty.
When she received the Emmy award for her leading role in “How to Get Away With Murder,” which she was the first African American to win, she noted “the one thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity…you cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply aren’t there.”
After being named a spokeswoman for L’Oréal’s Age Perfect campaign, she told WWD that seeing Cicely Tyson on-screen as a child had “made me believe that I could dream, that I could be someone” and that giving “that gift to another girl of color — to any girl, of course, but to any girl of color, absolutely” was part of her legacy.
Currently on-screen as Michelle Obama in the Showtime series “The First Lady,” she has also released a memoir called “Finding Me,” which she wrote over the COVID-19 lockdown.
Previous recipients of Kering’s Women in Motion award, which honors female filmmakers every year, include Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Gong Li and Salma Hayek.
Since its inception in 2015 at the Cannes Film Festival, the Women in Motion program has been highlighting the contribution of women to culture and the arts, spanning cinema and photography as well as literature, animation and design. It has since supported 13 creatives through grants awarded to young talents in cinema and photography.