Viola Davis Remembers Late Costar Chadwick Boseman at 2021 Oscars: 'Authenticity on Steroids'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Dana Rose Falcone
·2 min read
Viola Davis Remembers Late Costar Chadwick Boseman at 2021 Oscars: 'Authenticity on Steroids'
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Despite being nominated in one of the major categories, Viola Davis felt relaxed heading into Sunday's Academy Awards.

"Calm," the Best Actress nominee, 55, said during the Live from E!: Oscars pre-show of how she felt being on the red carpet ahead of Sunday's ceremony. "Now if people were here, they would know how absolutely groundbreaking calm is!"

Davis, dressed in a white Alexander McQueen gown, called attending the Oscars "an exclamation point on an already fabulous experience."

RELATED: Oscars 2021 Director, Producers Talk Plans for 93rd Show — 'It's Not Going to Be Standard Awards Show Fare'

Chris Pizzello/Pool/Shutterstock

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Nominated for portraying late blues legend Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Davis transformed physically for the role.

"You have to honor the person," she said on Sunday. "They said she was a certain size. They said that she had multiple gold teeth. They said she looked a certain way, she had a horsehair wig. So guess what? I had gold teeth. I had a horsehair wig, and I was a certain size. And that's how I honored her."

RELATED VIDEO: Viola Davis Discusses the Legacy of Chadwick Boseman with Oprah Winfrey

Davis added that she "didn't want to change" Rainey in any way, "because then I would be apologizing and I would be watering it down."

Listen below to the episode of our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on the 2021 Oscars.

The mother of one's late costar Chadwick Boseman earned a posthumous Best Actor nomination for his role in the Netflix drama. When asked by host Giuliana Rancic about how the industry has honored him throughout awards season, Davis said "it feels right."

RELATED: Oscars Attendees Won't Have to Wear Face Masks on Camera as Third of Show's Budget Goes to COVID Safety

David Lee/Netflix Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

"Only because I know him," she continued. "It's like I said before, he was authenticity on steroids. Sometimes people honor people who actually were not really nice, or the persona did not match the real person. This, it matches the person. I'm telling you: This person, this human being, this artist did not mistake his presence for the event. He absolutely honored the work."

"And a lot of people enter this business because they want to be famous actors. They don't want to be actors, they want to be famous actors," she added. "He entered it because he just wanted to be an artist."

The 93rd Academy Awards are airing live on Sunday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.