Black Panther pulled off a surprise Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture win Sunday at the 25th Annual SAG Awards, beating out A Star Is Born, Crazy Rich Asians, BlacKkKlansman and Bohemian Rhapsody.
After Jodie Foster cheerfully announced the Wakanda saga had won, Chadwick Boseman accepted the honor on behalf of the cast.
The actor admitted he was caught off guard by the win before thanking SAG-AFTRA, several Hollywood insiders and the cast of the film for their “passion, intelligence, resolve, discipline.”
Read More: SAG Awards 2019 – Complete Winners List
The 41-year-old actor said during the publicity run for the Marvel hit, the cast was constantly asked if they ever imagined the movie would make a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, or be recognized by awards voters.
He said the other question they often got was “has it changed the industry — has it actually changed the way this industry works? How it sees us?”
Boseman’s response drew applause from the audience inside the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
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“My answer to that is, 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,” he said.
“We know what it’s like to be told that there is not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head,” he continued. “We know what it’s like for you to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day because we knew, not that it would be around during awards season, or 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 what we wanted to see.”
Boseman was joined onstage by several of his Black Panther co-stars, including Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett and Martin Freeman.
During his speech, the actor pointed to the film’s 32-year-old director, Ryan Coogler, who was seated in the audience.
Black Panther was the top growing domestic film of 2018 after earning $700 million in North America. It also performed well overseas, raking in a combined worldwide total of $1.3 billion, according to Comscore.