On air
  • RFI English Live
  • RFI French Live

Cinema Prize USA

Issued on • Modified

Black Panther's 'young, gifted and black' ensemble wins top prize at SAG awards

Chadwick Boseman waves in front of the cast of Black Panther after the film won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards REUTERS/Mike Blake

Superhero movie, Black Panther, won the award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture at the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday. A win that pushes it among the favourites for the Oscars in February.

At the SAG, Black Panther was competing with heavyweights such as box-office hit, Crazy Rich Asians, Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman, A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody.

The Marvel Entertainment production also bagged the award for outstanding performance by a stunt ensemble in a motion picture.

Lead actor, Chadwick Boseman, wasn't expecting a win. While on stage with his peers to collect the statue and amid loud cheers, he opened his speech with: "I didn't think I would have to speak."

Boseman gave a powerful speech where he listed the hurdles black actors face in American film industry.

Boseman said that there were two questions which often came up: whether the cast knew the movie was going to make 1.3 billion dollars and whether it has changed the way this industry works.

"My answer to that", Boseman said, "is to be young, gifted and black". Alluding to American playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s autobiography "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" which Nina Simone turned into song in 1969, in memory of Hansberry.

Boseman went on to deliver his speech outlining what it means to be black in Hollywood

Here is a transcript of Chadwick Boseman's acceptance speech:

"We are all know what it’s like to be told 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 you 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 every day because we knew   not that we would be around during award season or that it would make a billion dollars, but we knew 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 every day 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.

Now, the question of…. will 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.

And one thing I do know: Did it change the industry? I know that you can’t have a “Black Panther" now without a “2″ on it. So, we love you. And we celebrate it."