Riveting in red or enthralling in emerald, when Viola Davis gets it right on the red carpet, she gets it right. This year has been a whirlwind for the Best Actress nominee and without missing a beat she gives variety, glamour, and effortless color wheel authority.

Instead of relying on the safety of a black gown, Davis finds liberation in effervescent gem tones and neon hues that harmoniously lay on her cocoa-brown skin. And her assets —those toned biceps, pearly whites, and womanly curves, irrefutably wow the crowd. In a recent LA Times fashion editorial, the star freed herself of the wig she often wears, and braved her short cropped natural before the world. It was a moment to say the least — an artful piece of imagery instantly messaging the entertainment industry: this woman’s chops clearly ranges beyond a domestic servant.

As we look forward to her imminent style independence, we look to her past sensations to abet our grand ceremonial entrance. —Nicole Miles