“Well, I’ll be,” declared Chadwick Boseman while accepting the biggest award at Sunday evening’s SAGs ceremony. “I didn’t think I was gonna have to speak.”
Boseman, of course, was speaking on behalf of the entire Black Panther cast, who was thrilled to see their project take the loftiest award that it’s received so far with the Best Film Ensemble prize. The leading man also related some of the questions that he commonly receives about Black Panther, including the following: “Has it changed this industry? Has it actually changed the way this industry works, how it sees us?”
His answer to that last question, as Boseman elaborated upon while apparently referencing a Nina Simone song, “is to be young, gifted, and Black … because all of us know, and Andy, we include you, too….” Naturally, that last bit was a good-natured jab at Andy Serkis, who exhibited “great timing” while appearing onstage. Boseman soon grew serious, however:
“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 know 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 … And that is what we went to work with everyday … 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.”
Within the rest of his speech, Boseman thanked director Ryan Coogler, who he described as a “genius,” as well as Disney execs Bob Iger and Alan Horn among others, while saving “the best for last,” which would be Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige.
Clearly, the SAG members — actors who represent the peers of the nominees — have spoken. Whether this translates into Black Panther‘s increased odds at taking home Best Picture (as the first superhero-movie nominee within the category) at the Oscars, no one can predict. We’ll find out, though, when the Academy Awards air on February 24.
Wakanda Forever, indeed.