Danielle Brooks on sharing Oscars journey with Da’Vine Joy Randolph: ‘They make you feel like there can only be one’

“The Color Purple” actress on being nominated with another “Black, plus-sized actress.”

The 96th Academy Awards are just around the corner and this year there are tons of folks we’re rooting for, including Danielle Brooks. The multi-talented actress is nominated for best supporting actress for her turn as Sofia in “The Color Purple” and theGrio caught up with her to find out how she’s handling her big moment.

Danielle Brooks, theGrio.com
Danielle Brooks, who is nominated for an Oscar, attends the Screen Actors Guild Awards at Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Feb. 24 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

It turns out, the 34-year-old actress was working on a project in New Zealand when she received the news of her Oscar nomination. 

“I was in New Zealand and it’s about a full day and some hours’ time difference, so I was in the future,” she jokes. “It was like 3 in the morning and I finally fell asleep because your mind can’t stop racing on nights like that. I had finally knocked out around 1 in the morning and then my husband called me around 3 and he’s like, ‘You did it!’ And I could hear my daughter’s little 4-year-old voice saying ‘Mommy you did it! You did it!’ 

It was then the reality sunk in.

“I couldn’t believe the moment had come and they were actually calling me with this good news. It was such a huge feat to overcome and to get to, so I was in awe that the moment had come for me to have my first Oscar nomination,” she says. 

Brooks’ nomination is a huge accomplishment for her and another step forward for Black women in Hollywood who seldom get recognized on such a huge scale. One thing that makes this moment particularly special is that she gets to share it with another young, Black actress, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who’s nominated in the same category for her role in “The Holdovers.”

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“It’s great because we’ve known each other since the beginning of our careers. I was at Juilliard and she was at Yale and we came out around the same time. This industry has been challenging to navigate because they do make you feel like there can only be one. For me, starting in “Orange Is the New Black,” that myth got demystified really quickly because I realized there can be room for more than one. All of us can shine,” she explains.

“Here’s a moment where we are both getting to shine. Especially being two, Black, plus-sized women and getting to tell these stories at the same time; you can’t write it any better. I think it’s great for young women to see that there’s space for you too. All of you can do your thing at the same time, you don’t have to wait. It has been really cool to witness this together.”

Other nominees include a few of our faves, including Sterling K. Brown, Jeffrey Wright, and Colman Domingo, among others.

Stay tuned at theGrio as we count down to Hollywood’s biggest night. 

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