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96th Academy Awards - Da'Vine Joy Randolph wins first Oscar for heartbreaking role in The Holdovers

Da'Vine Joy Randolph achieved an Oscar victory for her portrayal of grief and strength in The Holdovers.

96th Academy Awards - Da'Vine Joy Randolph wins first Oscar for heartbreaking role in The Holdovers
Da'Vine Joy Randolph in a still from The Holdovers

Last Updated: 05.19 AM, Mar 11, 2024


As expected, Da'Vine Joy Randolph won her first Academy Award for her moving performance in Alexander Payne's The Holdovers. In the film, the actor portrays Lunch lady Mary Lamb, who mourns her son's death in Vietnam. The film takes place over the Christmas season in an early 1970s New England prep school and examines, via characters of varying ages and origins, themes of loss, isolation, connection, comprehension, and personal development.

Da'Vine Joy Randolph's impactful performance and accumulated awards

Crucial to the plot and the film's examination of its themes, Randolph's Mary Lamb plays a number of roles, including that of a mother figure to Dominic Sessa's Angus Tully and a practical friend to Paul Giamatti's grumpy Paul Hunham.

Motivations behind accepting the role

The actor has received numerous prestigious accolades for her outstanding performance in The Holdovers, including the Academy Award—her 39th overall—as well as numerous Screen Actors Guild Awards, British Academy Film Awards, Golden Globes, National Board of Review, Independent Spirit Awards, and Critics Choice Awards.

Before the film's release last year, Randolph discussed her motivations for accepting the role in an interview with Collider's Steve Weintraub. She laughed when she admitted she had no idea who Payne was or that Giamatti was a co-star before reading the script, but she felt compelled to be in it afterward.

The actor stated that she doesn't think she had the script first, and she had no idea who Alexander Payne was when he contacted her two years ago. Randolph doesn't think she was even aware of Paul's connection when she received the script. What mattered most to her was that the protagonist was a woman who could freely express herself without fear of judgement. Because female characters, especially women of colour, are underrepresented in popular media, she jumped at the chance to portray that.


This triumph also earned Randolph her first Oscar nomination.

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