2023 Grammy Awards: Beyoncé, Viola Davis and Kim Petras Make History

Grammy Awards

Beyoncé accepts the award for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for 'Renaissance' during the 65th Grammy Awards — which set the record for most Grammys won by a single artist with 32. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

They were born nearly 70 years apart but the names of Beyoncé and Hungarian British classical conductor Sir Georg Solti, who died in 1997, will forever be linked as the answer to the trivia question, “Who is the winningest artist in Grammy history and who did they surpass to achieve the feat?”

The 41-year-old Beyoncé made history Sunday night at the 65th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles after entering with 28 wins — the second most ever, behind Solti. With her 2022 album Renaissance picking up two wins at the non-televised premiere ceremony and two more during the main ceremony, Beyoncé bumped her total haul up to a record-setting 32, edging out Solti by one (she lost the Album of the Year award to Harry Styles’ Harry’s House, which took home three awards overall). 

The singer actually arrived late to the ceremony after getting stuck in traffic, missing her two non-televised awards and the first televised one of the evening, for Best R&B song for “Cuff It” (music legend Nile Rogers, 70, and producer ​​The-Dream, 45, who both contributed to the song, accepted on her behalf). But she arrived in time for her record-breaking win — for Best Dance/Electronic Album for Renaissance, and gave a short speech that thanked God, members of her family and “the queer community for your love, for inventing the genre. God bless you.”

Viola Davis, 57, also made history at the Grammys, becoming only the 18th EGOT winner ever when she nabbed the award for ​​Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling Recording for her memoir, Finding Me at the Premiere ceremony. 

Davis previous won Tony Awards in 2001 (Best Featured Actress in a Play for King Hedley II) and 2010 (Best Leading Actress in a Play for Fences); an Emmy in 2015 (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for How to Get Away with Murder) and an Oscar in 2017 (Best Supporting Actress for Fences). 

“I wrote this book to honour the six-year-old Viola, to honour her life, her joy, her trauma, everything,” Davis said in her acceptance speech. “And it has just been such a journey. I just EGOT!”

As well, the song “Unholy,” by Sam Smith and Kim Petras, won the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance award, making Petras, 30, the first trans woman to win the award.  

“This has been such an incredible, incredible journey for me … Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award because I am the first transgender woman to win this award,” Petras said in accepting the award. “I just want to thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here tonight.”

Madonna, 64, later introduced a performance of the song.

Elsewhere in the evening, when it comes to the 45-plus winners, Bonnie Raitt, 73, took home the Grammy for Song of the Year for “Just Like That,” following wins at the premiere ceremony for Best American Roots Song (“Just Like That”) and Best Americana Performance (“Made Up Mind”).  

Meanwhile, Canadian country legend Shania Twain, 57 — who was seen dancing in the audience throughout the event — presented the award for Best Country Album and accepted it on behalf of Willie Nelson, 89, who won for A Beautiful Time. Nelson also won the award for Best Country Solo Performance for “Live Forever” at the premiere ceremony but was not in attendance. 

Also at the premiere ceremony, rocker Ozzy Osbourne, 74 nabbed two Grammys, for Best Metal Performance for “Degradation Rules” (featuring Tony Iommi, also 74) off the album Patient Number 9, which also won for Best Rock Album. “Stompin’ Ground,” a tune by 82-year-old Aaron Neville and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, won the award for Best American Roots Performance while Get On Board — an album by Taj Mahal, 80, and Ry Cooder, 75 — won Best Traditional Blues Album. And Canuck Michael Bublé, 47, won the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for his disc Higher.   

During the main show, Billy Crystal, 74, introduced the 2023 MusiCares Person of the Year — Berry Gordy, 93, and Smokey Robinson, 82 — and a performance in their honour by Stevie Wonder, 72, that included Robinson as well as Chris Stapleton, 44.

LL Cool J, 55, ushered in the inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award and first winner, Dr. Dre, 57, as well as the 50th anniversary of hip hop performance featuring legends from Run-DMC to Grandmaster Flash, Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa and others.

And for the In memoriam section, Kacey Musgraves sang “Coal Miner’s Daughter” for Loretta Lynn while Sheryl Crow, 60, Bonnie Raitt and Mick Fleetwood, 75, sang “Songbird” in tribute to Christine McVie. 

Click here for a full list of 2023 Grammy winners.