WATCH: Viola Davis’ Moving Critics’ Choice Awards Acceptance Speech

By Sameer Rao Dec 12, 2016

Never afraid to deliver a poignant award show speech, Viola Davis ("Fences") addressed her own trailblazing presence in TV and film when she accepted the #SeeHer Award during the 22nd Critics’ Choice Awards broadcast last night (December 11).

"I truly believe the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, and I just recently embraced that at 51," Davis said, to audience applause. "I think my strongest power is that, at 10 every Thursday night, I want you to come into my world," she added, referencing her "How to Get Away with Murder" timeslot. "I am not going to come into yours. You come into my world and you sit with me—my size, my hue, my age—and you sit, and you experience."

The #SeeHer Award takes its name from an initiative of the Association of National Advertisers that, per its website, seeks "to lead the movement to accurately portray women and girls in media, so that by 2020, they see themselves reflected as they truly are." Davis also won in the "Best Supporting Actress" category for her performance in "Fences." She thanked her co-star and director Denzel Washington in her acceptance speech.

In the night’s most unexpected moment, "Atlanta‘s" Lakeith Stanfield hopped on stage in a sailor’s outfit to accept the "Best Comedy Series" award—which "Atlanta" lost to "Silicon Valley." 

"I want to thank everybody for honoring us this way, we worked very hard on ‘Silicon Valley,’" he said about the show, in which he does not appear. After he left the stage, "Silicon Valley" producer Tom Lassally told the crowd, "No idea who that was." Mic reports that Stanfield later took to Twitter, rejecting questions of his sanity and referencing Donald Duck.

"Atlanta" creator and star Donald Glover won for "Best Actor in a Comedy Series." Other major winners of color include Mahershala Ali ("Moonlight") for "Best Actor in a Drama," the "Moonlight" cast for "Best Acting Ensemble" and Thandie Newton ("Westworld") for "Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series." "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story won "Best Movie Made for Television or Limited Series," with stars Courtney B. Vance and Sterling K. Brown winning in that format’s "Best Actor" and "Best Supporting Actor" categories. Regina King ("American Crime") won that category’s "Best Supporting Actress" award.

Nominees and winners are determined by the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Last night’s ceremony aired live on A&E with T.J. Miller ("Silicon Valley") as host. 

Click here for the full winners list and here for speech clips.