Paramount’s Arrival and Fences each won an Oscar last night, capping a torrid award season that firmly established the two films as among the best of 2016.
With a fiery speech that summoned the emotional resonance of the film she appeared in, Viola Davis accepted the prize for best supporting actress for her role in Fences.
“You know, there’s one place where all the people with the greatest potential are gathered,” Davis said in her acceptance speech. “One place. And that’s the graveyard. … So here’s to August Wilson who exhumed and exhalted the ordinary people.”
With the honor, Davis became the first black actor to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony award.
The accolades have been piling up for Fences in general and Davis in particular since awards season launched. Among Davis’ acknowledgements for best supporting actress have been honors from the African-American Film Critics Association, AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards and Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. The film’s director, Denzel Washington, has also earned several best actor awards for his performance in the film.
The haunting Arrival¸ a gorgeous sci-fi tale of aliens landing, earned top honors for Sound Editing. Sylvain Bellemare, a longtime collaborator with director Denis Villeneuve, led the team that created the film’s auditory component, an immense task given a story that spans civilizations, time periods, and settings from the pedestrian to the otherworldly.
Arrival, which earned eight Academy Award nominations, has steadily accumulated awards since its November release, including Best Adapted Screenplay at the Writers Guild of America Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards.
Paramount had seven films nominated for 18 awards on Sunday night, underscoring the high quality of work emerging from the studio over the past year.
Arrival is now available on Blu-ray. Fences will be released in the same format on March 14.