It was a big night at the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards for Black Panther, as the Marvel film became the studio's first to take home The Actor for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture on Sunday, Jan. 27. And when T'Challa himself, Chadwick Boseman, took to the stage at the Shrine Auditorium to accept the award on behalf of the cast, he was visibly moved.
"I didn't think I was gonna have to speak. Obviously, thank Sag-AFTRA for this moment of appreciation, celebration of this film. Thank our director Ryan Coogler. He's a genius," he began his speech, with co-stars Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o and Angela Bassett, among others, standing beside him. "And this cast, this ensemble that...when I think of going to work everyday and the passion and the intelligence, the resolve, the discipline that everybody showed. I also think of two questions that we all have received during the course of multiple publicity runs. One is: Did we know that this movie was going to receive this kind of response? Meaning, was it going to make a billion dollars, was it going to still be around this award season? And the second question is: Has it changed the industry? Has it actually changed the way this industry works, how it sees us?"
"My answer to that is to be young, gifted and black," he continued. "Because all of us up here know...to be young, gifted and black, we all 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. We knot what it's like to be told there's not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for to be featured on. We know what it's like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it's like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with everyday. because we knew not that we would be around during award season or that it would make a billion dollars, 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 a world that we wanted to see. We knew that we had something that we wanted to give and to come to work with everyday and to solve problems with this group of people every day, with this director, that is something that I wish all actors would get the opportunity to experience. If you get to experience that, you will be a fulfilled artist."
And as the music attempted to play him off, with the show nearing its two-hour completion mark, Boseman would not be deterred, continuing on to make his final, most important point. "Now, the question of would we be around during award season, I just have to say it's a pleasure to be celebrated by you, to be loved by you," he concluded. "And one thing that I do know—did it change the industry? I know that you can't have Black Panther now without a 2 on it."
Black Panther beat out A Star Is Born, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Crazy Rich Asians for the evening's top honors.
Could Best Picture at next month's Oscars be next? Stay tuned...