‘I want to make people proud’: Oscar-nominated actress from Miss. is praying for a win

Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 9:34 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - “I just never thought that this would happen. It’s funny. I saw advertisement for the Oscars the other night and I was like, The Oscars are going coming on soon. I cannot even configure myself into at all.”

Actress Aunjanue Ellis is surprised, yet overjoyed she is now an Oscar nominee. She is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “King Richard.” She played the mother of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. Will Smith plays the father in the movie.

“It is about Venus and Serena Williams,” she explained. “They are cultural icons and they are an example of the excellence of Black womanhood. They are all that. So that is what made me want to do this and to fight for this. I had to fight for this job. It was one of the best experiences on screen and off screen.”

Ellis admits she was too nervous to watch the Oscar nominations last week.

“I turned off my phone late Monday night and did not turn it back on until Tuesday night at around 11 p.m. I said if I turn my phone back on and I see I have a lot of messages then that’s probably good news. So, I turned my phone back on and I had like 200 messages, and I was like, Okay, something good happened. And then my sister called me and it went from there.”

Ellis was born in San Francisco but was raised right here in Mississippi. She’s appeared in numerous movies and on television.

She’s had roles in “Ray,” “The Help,” and the Lifetime movie, “The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel.”

The Mississippi actress says she is just blessed to live out her passion and represent the Magnolia State while doing it.

“I do feel like I’m representing the state of Mississippi and that is so important to me, and the reason being is that the perception that people have of Mississippi and Mississippi is so limited.”

As this Mississippi actress gets ready to walk the red carpet in Los Angeles next month, she is praying for a win so she can bring home an Oscar to the state she loves and calls home.

“I want to make people proud. I want to make people smile about that and they can say, That’s my homegirl.

The 94th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at The Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.

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