Wakanda Forever! Marvel’s Black Panther took home the night’s top prize — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture — at Sunday night’s 25th Annual SAG Awards. The superhero film beat out A Star Is Born, Crazy Rich Asians, Bohemian Rhapsody and BlacKkKlansman to win the trophy, and no one was more surprised than star Chadwick Boseman.
“Well I’ll be,” said Boseman, who played King T’Challa, aka Black Panther, in the box office blockbuster. “I didn’t think I was going to have to speak!”
Noting that the cast is most often asked if a) they knew Black Panther would be a huge hit, and b) it’s changed Hollywood, Boseman delivered an impassioned speech that began, “My answer to that is…to be young, gifted and black.”
“Because all of us up here know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured — yet you are young, gifted and black,” he said. “We all know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head…to be beneath and not above.”
“We [didn’t know] that the movie would make a billion dollars,” he continued. “But we knew that we had something special that we wanted to give the world…that we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing. That we could create a world that exemplified what we wanted to see.”
As to the question of whether or not Black Panther has changed the industry, Boseman concluded, “I know that you can’t have a Black Panther now without a ‘2’ on it!”
Elsewhere, the only sweep of the night was Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which won Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series, and Best Male and Female Actor in a Comedy Series for Tony Shalhoub and Rachel Brosnahan, respectively.
Other than that, SAG spread the love. TV winners included This Is Us for top TV drama ensemble, Darren Criss for The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Patricia Arquette for Escape at Dannemora, Jason Bateman for Ozark, and Sandra Oh for Killing Eve.
The winners on the movie side were also varied: Glenn Close won for The Wife — beating out Lady Gaga for A Star Is Born — while Mahershala Ali won for Green Book and Emily Blunt won for A Quiet Place. Rami Malek repeated his Golden Globe victory, winning for his portrayal of legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
Accepting his award, a shocked Malek said of Mercury, who died in 1991, “I get some power from him that is about stepping up and living your best life, being exactly who you want to be and accomplishing everything you so desire. And I feel that he allows us all to feel that, so this is, again, for him.”
A Star Is Born, nominated for four awards — the most of the night — was completely shut out.
Tom Hanks was on hand to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Alan Alda, who turns 83 on Monday. The Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated star, who recently announced that he’s battling Parkinson’s disease, gave a moving speech in which he spoke about actors’ ability to bring people together in a culturally divided time, like now.
“Actors can help, at least a little, just by doing what he do,” said the beloved M*A*S*H icon. “And the nice part is, it’s fun to do it. So let’s stay playful and let’s have fun. It can’t solve everything…but it wouldn’t hurt!”
As for political statements, the only direct one of the night came from Patricia Arquette, who thanked, “Robert Mueller and everyone working to make sure that we have sovereignty for the United States of America.”
#MeToo also went unmentioned, except for a vague reference from co-presenters Glenn Close and Michael Douglas, who said in the 32 years since Fatal Attraction, a lot has changed, including “how we relate to each other and our world.”
Will & Grace‘s Megan Mullally hosted the ceremony, broadcast live on TBS and TNT.
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