‘The Woman King’ Starring Viola Davis Is Still One of Our Favorite Films on Netflix Right Now

A must-see story about strong Black women

Still from 'The Woman King.'
Sony Pictures

Two Oscar snubs later, The Woman King (which stars the oh-so-talented Viola Davis) is still a must-watch movie on Netflix.

The film takes place in the 1820s and Davis plays a West African warrior named Nanisca, who must train her tribe to fight an enemy that threatens their way of life. The historical action film's release date was September 16, 2022.

After the movie debuted in theaters across the U.S., the female-led picture was met with rave reviews from critics and earned numerous nominations at the 2023 Critics’ Choice Awards, including Best Costume Design, Best Acting Ensemble, Best Director and the Best Actress category for Davis’s powerful performance as Nanisca. The Fences alum also secured nominations for the Best Actress category at the Golden Globes, BAFTA Film Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and NAACP Image Awards. However, the film didn’t receive any nominations at the 2023 Academy Awards

Fast forward to February 2023: The Woman King found a new home on Netflix and quickly climbed to the number one spot on the streamer’s list of most-watched movies, topping popular releases like Your Place or Mine and You People at the time. While many Netflix subscribers have probably already watched the movie by now, The Woman King is just one of those movies that deserves a revisit.

1. What Is ‘The Woman King’ About?

The Woman King presents a slightly fictionalized version of the story of the Dahomey Amazons, an all-female military regime that existed up until the early 1900s. In the movie, Davis portrays their leader, Nanisca, a fierce warrior who trains a new generation of fighters.

Back in December 2022, Davis sat down with The Wrap to talk about the film and explained why more stories like The Woman King need to be told. “The thing is, we are in a profession where a lot of things can stop you. Your sex can stop you, your age can stop you, your race can stop you,” she told the outlet. “All those things, because they become obstacles in getting stories made and not just action movies.”

Davis continued, ‘“Our job as artists, as Black artists, is we want great material. We want complicated material. We want material that’s going to challenge our artistry and our craft. That’s what we want.”

Still from 'The Woman King.'
Sony Pictures

2. Who’s in the Cast?

The Woman King was also produced by Davis, and it features a star-studded ensemble cast, including Thuso Mbedu (The Underground Railroad), Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel), Sheila Atim (Bruised), John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and more.

Viola Davis.
Leon Bennett/Getty Images

3. Was ‘The Woman King’ Nominated for an Oscar?

Sadly, no. Despite Davis's powerful performance (which earned her noms for Best Actress at the Critics' Choice Awards and the Golden Globes), she was excluded from the Best Actress category at the 95th Academy Awards. Meanwhile, The Woman King also received zero nominations, despite being named one of the ten best films of 2022 by the American Film Institute.

Despite The Woman King's omission from the 2023 Oscars, it's still been an exciting year for Davis, who achieved EGOT status when she took home the Grammy for Best Audio Book, Narration and Storytelling Recording, thanks to her reading of her memoir, Finding Me, at the 2023 Grammy Awards.

The Woman King is available to watch now on Netflix.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...

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Assistant Editor, News And Entertainment

Karelle McKay is the Assistant Editor of News and Entertainment at PureWow. Before she started writing about all things pop culture, she was a literal couch potato who loved...