Viola on how she personally related to her character: "During the course of promoting this movie, and having to kind of defend my choices in playing a maid in 1963 Mississippi — [it's] 2011 — and I've had to find my voice. I've had to find my voice as a woman of color, an artist, and I never thought that I would ever be put in a position like that. I've always been kind of in the background, a character actor doing four or five scenes. And all of a sudden, I was being put to the test, kind of being pushed against the wall, kind of making me feel what Abilene, Minnie, [all of them] felt in finding their own voices, and not keeping silent anymore. Not staying in the background."
Viola on how she felt about "beating out" Meryl Streep: "I feel pretty overwhelmed with my name being called. I just don't see the 'best' thing going on. It's hard — every time I start a job ... I feel like I've never done anything before, everyone's going to find me out to be the hack that I am. It's hard to me to think that I triumphed over Meryl Streep. I just think that a few more people checked my name in a box for whatever reason, and this time, I fooled them. You know, I bought a little time to maybe suck in my next role or something."
Viola on why The Help is important: "For me, and I know for Octavia, and for Ms. [Cicely] Tyson, they are the stories of our mothers, our grandmothers, and we absolutely feel like these women's stories are worth it."