This is the 51-year-old’s third Oscar nomination, meaning that she now holds the record for the most Oscar nominations awarded to an African American woman.
Davis was previously nominated for Academy Awards for her roles in The Help (2011) and Doubt (2008).
Davis tweeted her appreciation of the nomination. (Watch the Fences trailer here).
"Thank you to The Academy for recognising this extraordinary, important film and my work in it," Davis tweeted. "Thank you Denzel for being at the helm!"
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) January 24, 2017
Following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that surrounded the 2016 Academy Awards, this year's nominations are noticeably more racially diverse.
Davis' nomination is among the 10 African American actors and creatives who have received nominations for their work. Unfortunately, no African American actors were nominated for Oscars in 2015 and 2016.
In the Best Supporting Actress category alone, three women of colour were nominated: Naomie Harris for her role in Moonlight (watch trailer here), Octavia Spencer for her performance in Hidden Figures (watch trailer here), and of course, Davis for Fences.
— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) January 24, 2017
Davis' Fences co-star Denzel Washington also received a nomination for the Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Award. The film was also recognised for Best Picture and Best Screenplay nominations.
Other people of colour who received nominations for their performers include: Ruth Negga (Loving), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Dev Patel (Lion).
The storylines of the films recognised this year are also more diverse than previous years. Fences is among the six nominated films that tell stories centred around African American characters and Lion is about an Indian boy who is adopted by an Australian family.
In the Best Animated Film category nominees included Disney's Moana, the story of a Polynesian princess, and Kubo and the Two Strings, which is about a boy growing-up in ancient Japan.
While this year's Academy Award nominations cannot make-up for the past two years' lack of diversity, the prominence of people of colour and multicultural stories is surely a step in the right direction.
The 89th Academy Awards will take place on the 26th of February.
Listen to the Mamamia Out Loud team discuss the inappropriateness of racist jokes at award ceremonies. Has the stereotyping gone too far?: