Vin Diesel lives his life an MTV movie award at a time.
In 2002, the Fast & Furious series scored its first golden popcorn, and now, 15 years, 7 movies, and thousands of wrecked cars later, the megafranchise has been honored with the MTV Generation Award.
On Sunday at the debut iteration of the MTV Movie & TV Awards, Wonder Woman star and Fast & Furious alum Gal Gadot presented the award to her former costars.
“Before I was Wonder Woman, I got a call that would change my life,” said Gadot, who starred as Gisele for three of the films, while introducing the award. “I was asked to be a part of the Fast & Furious franchise. The stunts may get bigger and crazier, but the heartbeat of the franchise, the reason people keep packing theaters over and over again is family. A diverse group of people who stick together, no matter what, through onscreen adventure and real-life tragedy.”
As she fought back tears, Gadot continued, “The Fast & Furious is more than a series of movies. It’s become an undeniable part of our culture. That’s why MTV is giving this badass franchise its highest honor.”
After a performance by Pitbull and Camila Cabello of their song “Hey Ma” from the Fate of the Furious soundtrack, series stalwart Vin Diesel came out to accept the award solo, then saying, “I’m gonna need my family for this one” and inviting Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster to join him on stage.
“You know in 2002, I was standing on this stage, and MTV had given Paul Walker and I an award for best duo, and now, 15 years later, I’m with my whole family, and you’re giving us the Generation Award,” said Diesel, who plays group leader Dominic Toretto. “I have to thank Universal, I have to thank all the directors, Chris Morgan, Neal Moritz. But most importantly, I gotta thank our generation. I gotta thank a generation that was willing to accept this multicultural franchise where it didn’t matter what color your skin was or what country you’re from — when you’re family, you’re family.”
Diesel concluded by mentioning his late costar Walker, who died in 2013 during production of Furious 7. “I can never stand on this stage and talk about Fast & Furious without giving love to our brother Pablo,” he said, raising the golden popcorn trophy to the sky. “We hope you’re proud.”
Fast & Furious‘ win broke tradition for the annual award, which, since its creation in 2005, has never been bestowed upon a franchise, but rather given to individual actors, including Reese Witherspoon, Robert Downey Jr., and Will Smith.
Before landing the Generation Award, the franchise surprisingly boasted only two previous wins at the MTV Awards. The victories — separated by 12 years — were both for Best On-Screen Duo, going to Diesel and Walker for their bromantic partnership of Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner.
Rodriguez and Brewster were among the Fast & Furious women who recently talked to EW about the state of women in action films and what changes need to be made.