Viola Davis holding the Pudding Pot.

Viola Davis poses with her Pudding Pot during the virtual ceremony.

Photos by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Arts & Culture

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Viola Davis celebrated winning Hasty Pudding’s Woman of the Year award during the virtual ceremony

On Thursday evening, Hasty Pudding Theatricals welcomed actress Viola Davis to its first ever virtual Woman of the Year award ceremony, complete with the traditional roast.

Davis is the 71st recipient of the award, joining the ranks of Elizabeth Banks, Octavia Spencer, and Anne Hathaway. 

The Hasty Pudding cast challenged the actress to several dramatic scenarios, including competing in a dance-off with “Meryl Streep,” performing a scene for a parody of Marvel franchise director James Gunn, and providing “Melania Trump” with some advice from her famed show, “How to Get Away with Murder.”

Evil hackers, played by the Hasty Pudding cast, break into the virtual award ceremony to question whether or not Davis deserves the award.

Viola Davis with the Hasty Pudding cast.

In lieu of the usual parade, the company showed a video of a life-size cutout of Davis touring around Harvard’s campus.

In a Q&A following the roast, Davis addressed diversity in media. 

“Invest in [people of color],” she said. “Invest in our stories, movies, TV shows — all those stories you say you want to see. Put your money where your mouth is because that’s what speaks the loudest.”

Davis is the most Oscar-nominated Black actress in Academy Awards history and is also the first Black actress to win two Tony Awards, an Oscar, and an Emmy.