By Maureen Lee Lenker
January 06, 2019 at 10:11 PM EST
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Darren Criss is off to a killer start in 2019.

The former Glee star won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie for his chilling portrayal of serial killer Andrew Cunanan in Ryan Murphy’s anthology series American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace on Sunday night in Beverly Hills, Calif.

“This is such an honor to in front of some many incredible people. I feel like I won a fan contest. Brian May’s right over there,” Criss began. “I’d like to thank my teachers who are watching at home, and that actually includes all of my fellow nominees who I’ve admired your work from afar for so long, and whether you like it or not, you’re actually a part of this, so thank you for your inspiration.”

Criss upended his boyish image with his performance in Versace, the second installment of Murphy and FX’s series investigating notorious American crimes (the first being the award-winning The People v. O.J. Simpson). Criss headed the series as Cunanan, a young gay man who went on a killing spree in the 1990s, ending with the slaying of famed fashion designer Gianni Versace.

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

“Thank you to Ryan Murphy, Fox, and FX for making me feel like I made varsity this year,” Criss added in his speech. Lastly, he dedicated the honor to his mother, saying, “As we’ve seen, this has been a marvelous year for representation in Hollywood, and I am so enormously proud to be a teeny, tiny part of that as the son of a firecracker Filipino woman from Cebu that dreamed of coming to this country and getting to be invited to cool parties like this. Mom, I know you’re watching this. You are hugely responsible for most of the good things in my life. I love you dearly. I dedicate this to you.”.

Criss’ take on the outwardly charming but cruel and self-loathing Cunanan earned him heaps of praise, and he won the equivalent Emmy in September. EW named him one of our 2018 Entertainers of the Year for his engrossing performance, which marked a stark departure from the sunny disposition that shot him to fame on shows like Glee. He’s living his very own teenage dream now, taking home his first Golden Globe on his first-ever nomination.

Criss beat out fellow nominees Antonio Banderas (Genius: Picasso), Daniel Brühl (The Alienist), Benedict Cumberbatch (Patrick Melrose), and Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal).

See the full list of Golden Globes winners, updating live throughout the night.

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