"I spent so many years at Juilliard just wanting to beat somebody up," she told the crowd during her acceptance speech.
"I think it was the height of my anger; that chip on my shoulder," she said. "I'm still trying to take care of that chip on my shoulder, by the way. It was mainly because I felt my voice as an artist was being stifled."
Describing the craft of being an actress, Davis said: "Your job is to come open and willing to transform, and that's the power of what we do. And I feel like if one audience member is shifted in any way possible, I've done my job."
"I can't promise that I won't do some crap every once in a while, because I've done some crap, let me tell you," she said. "But I have to say that I am honored to even be in the presence of so many artists here."