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WOMEN WE LOVE: Da’Vine Joy Randolph

Written by Tal Israeli. Published: March 25 2024


Fresh off of her well-deserved Oscar win for her stunning performance in The Holdovers as boarding school cook and grieving mother Mary Lamb, Da’Vine Joy Randolph is one of Hollywood’s most exciting names around. In fact, her actual name -- a spin on the “divine joy” she brought to her parents -- is pretty accurate and exciting too!




Let’s take a look at how the star made her way to the screen, with an award-winning pit stop in the Broadway lights, to the unstoppable force she is today!


Da’Vine grew up in Pennsylvania and trained in classical opera in college before switching to musical theater. While we can totally imagine her belting out Carmen better than anyone out there, we think acting turned out to be a pretty great match for the future Oscar winner! The actress went on to study at the prestigious Yale School of Drama, well preparing her for a future of stardom.


Her first breakthrough into our consciousnesses was as psychic Oda Mae Brown in Ghost: The Musical on Broadway, a role that was originated onscreen by the one and only Whoopi Golberg in the 1980 film (yes, the one with Patrick Swayze and the iconic seductive pottery session). For her performance, Da’Vine was nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Musical at the Tony Awards. 


Da’Vine made her way to the screen with roles in movies like Mother of George and The Angriest Man in Brooklyn starring the late, great Robin Williams. She also had a main role in the short yet sweet one-season ABC comedy series, “Selfie”, which was quickly canceled but not before gaining a cult fan following. We even got to tour the set back in 2014 and meet then up-and-coming Ms. Da’Vine!




In 2019, Da’Vine took on a star-making role in the Netflix film My Name is Dolemite, which starred Eddie Murphy as real-life filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore, the man behind the titular Blaxploitation character. The actress played Lady Reed, a single mother from the South who joins in on Dolemite’s comedy tour, to rave reviews.




On her way to becoming a household name, Da’Vine had memorable roles in the main cast of Hulu’s “High Fidelity”, “The United States vs. Billie Holliday, The Lost City starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, and a recurring role as Detective Williams in the delightful “Only Murders in the Building”. The actress also played Lily-Rose Depp’s character’s manager in HBO’s cult shipwreck “The Idol”, but we’ll give her a pass on that one.


Finally, Da’Vine got the role she had been waiting for when she played Mary Lamb in Alexander Payne’s 2023 period film The Holdovers. The film follows the relationship between a hard-hearted teacher, his student, and a bereaved school cook when all three stay over during their New England boarding school’s winter break. While the film as a whole is a beautiful, funny, and an instant classic, Da’Vine’s emotional, strong, and vulnerable portrayal of Mary in her grief and joy is simply mesmerizing. Reflecting on her role, the actress stated, “I’ve felt like I had to fight for fully realized characters with complexities or even start writing or producing myself. I was so overjoyed to read this character, someone who was really struggling, but also trying to persevere in spite of her situation.” It’s no wonder she swept up every major award for Best Supporting Actress during the 2023-2024 Awards Season.




It’s time for an Oscars fun fact! Did you know that Da’Vine appeared in not one but TWO Best Picture nominated films this year? In addition to her award-winning role in The Holdovers, the actress also appeared as singer Mahalia Jackson in the biopic Rustin starring Colman Domingo, who was also nominated for Best Actor for his performance. With those opera pipes in her arsenal, Da’Vine fully brought the gospel singer to life.


Now that we can’t get her out of our heads, let’s see what's next up for Da’Vine Joy Randolph! The actress is set to appear alongside Rebel Wilson in upcoming comedy Bride Hard, which also stars “This is Us" actor Justin Hartley. She’ll also star in action-thriller Shadow Force, which will pair her with Kerry Washington and “Lupin”'s Omar Sy for a spy ensemble of our dreams.


If you thought you coudn’t love Da’Vine Joy Randolph any more, you may be beat out for the role of her #1 fan. Just look at her The Holdovers co-star Paul Giammati’s face when Da’Vine won her Oscar: