UPDATED with videos: She’s won seven Emmys and a Golden Globe and tonight Allison Janney finally took home her first Oscar for playing Tonya Harding’s abusive and hysterically outspoken mom LaVona in I, Tonya.
Taking the stage tonight at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Janney quipped, “I did it all by myself” and after pausing, “That’s nothing farther from the truth.” (See the full speech above.)
Ever since the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was quickly acquired by NEON/30 WEST, Janney has been considered a near-lock for the Best Supporting Actress. And while we’ve seen Janney play a mother before on CBS’ comedy series Mom, she takes flawed to a whole other level in I, Tonya: Not only was LaVona the tough love that propelled Harding to an Olympic figure skating career, she was a chain-smoking loudmouth who sewed minks out of squirrel fur for her young champion and had no qualms of getting her point across with a quick slap to the face.
“I love one of the first things that (screenwriter) Steven (Rogers) told me about this part when he said he wrote it for me was that I get to play this woman who lives in a trailer basically, wears a fur coat, and has a bird on her shoulder, I was like ‘I’m in! I’m in!’ I want to play this woman,” Janney told Deadline.
Janney said to Rogers tonight from the stage, “Thank you for the gift of LaVona…you saw this coming.”
It’s been quite a road for Janney: During her college days at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, she was directed by one of its noted alumni on stage: Paul Newman, who along with wife Joanne Woodward encouraged Janney to continue on with her pursuit of acting.
Prior to tonight Janney took home best supporting actress trophies from the Spirit Awards, the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards and Broadcast Film Critics for playing LaVona.
Here’s the backstage session after her win: