By Christian Holub
September 20, 2020 at 09:47 PM EDT
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Atsushi Nishijima/HBO

No, you're not seeing double — Mark Ruffalo just won an Emmy Award for playing two characters. More specifically, he won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his performance as brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in I Know This Much Is True

"Wow, to be with these guys, it's such an honor. I'm coming to you from my ancestral land," Ruffalo said in his virtual acceptance speech. "Derek Cianfrance, brother, you did something beautiful. I couldn't have done it without you. The rest of the cast, you gave career-defining performances. I believe great acting happens between performers in the moment."

Ruffalo connected the show's story of mental illness to modern America more broadly. "It's about a man fighting for his brother living with mental illness," he said. "It's a story that is common through so much of the U.S. and world today. It asks a big questions like 'How are we going to honor and take care of our most vulnerable people?' We do that with love and with compassion, and we do that by fighting for them. And that's what we have to do today. We have to come together with love for each other. And if we have privilege, we have to fight for those who are less fortunate and more vulnerable. That's what great about America, our diversity."

At the end, Ruffalo connected his point to the upcoming presidential election: "We have a big, important moment ahead of us. Are we going to be a country of division and hatred? Or are we going to be one of love and strength?"

Based on the book by Wally Lamb, I Know This Much Is True finds Ruffalo simultaneously playing Dominick, a house painter in Connecticut, and his paranoid schizophrenic brother, Thomas.

This is Ruffalo's second Emmy nomination for acting, and first win as a performer. He was previously nominated in the same category for his role in 2014's The Normal Heart, losing to Benedict Cumerbatch's Sherlock Holmes, but won as a producer of The Normal Heart. On Sunday, Ruffalo beat out Jeremy Irons in Watchmen, Hugh Jackman in Bad Education, Paul Mescal in Normal People, and Jeremy Pope in Hollywood.

In a contest between two Marvel superhero actors, the Hulk just beat Wolverine.

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