Viola Davis has heard all the criticism leveled at her over her portrayal of Michelle Obama -- as it pertains to her lip choices, that is -- and her response is ... screw the haters.
The Oscar-winning actress came out swinging against her critics in a new interview with the BBC, which asked her about the jokes and ridicule she was enduring a couple weeks ago amid the premiere of her new Showtime series, 'The First Lady.'
VD says these amateur commentators serve absolutely no purpose other than to be cruel, noting she found the score of comments to be "incredibly hurtful."
Viola acknowledges that critique is an occupational hazard of the job, and even seems to cop to the fact that her MO acting might not even be her best work ... but she insists she had to take big swings, and stands by what she did on camera.
Still, it's clear folks got to Viola and their mocking left her sour -- because she says this ... "Critics absolutely serve no purpose. And, I'm not saying that to be nasty either."
She adds, "They always feel like they're telling you something that you don't know. Somehow that you're living a life that you're surrounded by people who lie to you and 'I'm going to be the person that leans in and tells you the truth'. So, it gives them an opportunity to be cruel."
Viola also says it was damn near impossible to do Michelle justice, as some might've felt she was either doing too much or not enough to get it right. In this case, it's the former.
One other thing ... Viola says she has no idea what the real former First Lady thinks of how she did, noting she isn't in any personal contact with Mrs. Obama. Viola had previously said she did a lot of research and wanted to do MO proud ... so she clearly did her best.