(LOS ANGELES) — Viola Davis recently sat down with Entertainment Tonight to discuss her recent turn in the Netflix film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and her upcoming role as former first lady Michelle Obama in Showtime’s anthology series The First Lady, including words of praise for her Ma Rainey’s co-star, the late Chadwick Boseman.
“A lot of times when Black actors are nominated for any award or get any accolades or get a spotlight, it is always with a caveat that it is only happening because we’re Black, or it is only happening because such and such and such and such. It’s never deserved,” she says.
However, that’s not true of Boseman, who has racked up a number of posthumous award nominations this season.
“Chadwick Boseman deserves it,” Davis insists. “This is someone who did the work, who learned the trumpet. I mean, those long three, four-page monologues, are you kidding me? He did the work, and he did an extraordinary job.”
Boseman died last August at age 43.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, based on the August Wilson play of the same name, centers on an afternoon recording session for titular blues singer in 1920s Chicago.
Meanwhile, the 55-year-old actress will next star as Michelle Obama in the Showtime series, The First Lady. Davis, a friend of the former first lady, says preparing for the role was a humbling experience.
“Now I am in the place of…I’m not going to lie, a lot of fear,” she tells ET. “Let me tell you something, she’s dope. She’s everything. She’s a hero. She is just one of those women and people that lives a life bigger than herself, and I hope to honor that.”