Da’Vine Joy Randolph has swiftly ascended from a fresh face in Hollywood to obtaining critical acclaim with her Golden Globe-winning performance in “The Holdovers.” Her performance marks her firstwin and has gained her Oscar buzz and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.
Randolph calls the buzz around her performance “overwhelming.”
“It’s beyond. I never expected any of this and so I’m just trying to take it one step at a time and getting the advice from others,” said Randolph.
In “The Holdovers,” set against the backdrop of a boarding school campus where people are stranded during the holidays, Randolph portrays Mary Lamb, a career manager grieving her son’s death in Vietnam. Her interaction with an unpopular history teacher, played by Paul Giamatti, offers a glimpse into Lamb’s emotional landscape.
Randolph said she drew inspiration for the role from her own experiences of seeing how grief has shown up in her own family members and in the lives of Black women in her life.
“Black women in particular, have this beautiful and uncanny ability, almost like a superpower, wherein the midst of their trials and tribulations, if they don’t want you to know, you won’t know at all,” Randolph said. “They operate at a higher level of efficiency in order to cover it up of what they’re actually going through. That was something I really wanted to capitalize on.”
Randolph also delved into the subtleties of her character — especially the cooking scenes.
“So when we were having the initial conversations, I was like, ‘Okay, listen. So I see in the script there is cooking happening,’ and I was like, it’s important to me … this is so real and authentic. It will look weird if she wasn’t really cooking.”
As the Oscars, held in March, loom on the horizon, Randolph said she tries to remain grounded.
“I never want to get into a place where I’m expecting anything. And I always want to let things naturally happen, how they’re supposed to happen. I don’t feel those within my right to be expecting anything,” she said.