Breakout star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his cryptic performance in the acclaimed HBO series “Watchmen”. He beat out co-stars Jovan Adepo and Louis Gossett Jr., to take home his first Emmy.

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“Thank you so much to The Academy. I’m so excited right now,” Abdul-Mateen said as he accepted his award during the 72nd Primetime Emmys on Sunday night, before going on to shout-out his friends and family.

“I want to give — say thank you first off to my mama and my daddy. Man, I’m surprised. To my siblings, my squad, I love y’all so much. I want to give a big shout-out to all the west Oakland, all the New Orleans people, I love y’all so much.”

He then went on to thank his co-star and fellow Emmy winner, Regina King, “for being the best.”

“‘Watchmen’ was a story about trauma, and the lasting scars of white domestic terrorism, police corruption and brutality,” the actor continued, referring to the Tulsa Race Massacre and systemic racism experienced by Black people on the series and in real life. “But it was also a story of a god who came down to Earth to reciprocate to a Black woman. And he did all of that in the body of a Black man, and I’m so proud to have played him. I dedicate this to all the people in my life, my early investors. I love you, I appreciate you, and this is for you. Thank you.”

In the series, adapted from the beloved graphic novel by creator Damon Lindelof, the 34-year-old actor played King’s onscreen husband before a major revelation forced him to embrace his true identity.

His nomination is one of 26 for Watchmen, the most for any program at the 2020 Emmys, which was celebrated for speaking to the current political climate and being a series many turned to after the re-emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement over the summer.

“I’m just really excited to be a part of something that was entertaining, important, but also useful,” Abdul-Mateen told ET in July, adding that the series “wasn’t made to be experienced in a vacuum.”

He later gave a shout-out to the fans “who watched the show and who tuned in every week. And then who went online to have dialogue and have conversations about the show and about America’s history, America’s troubled past and about where we are now.”

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The 2020 Primetime Emmys, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, were broadcast live on ABC.


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