Regina King is queen of the Oscars.
After 29 years in Hollywood, the 48-year-old If Beale Street Could Talk performer won her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at Sunday night’s ceremony over strong competition from Roma‘s Marina de Tavira, Vice‘s Amy Adams, and The Favourite costars Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.
“To be standing here representing one of the greatest artists of our time, James Baldwin, it’s a little surreal,” King said through tears as she accepted the trophy. “James Baldwin birthed this baby and Barry [Jenkins], you nurtured her, you surrounded her with so much love and support, so it’s appropriate for me to be standing here because I’m an example of what it looks like when support and love is poured into someone.”
King went on to thank her mother, who shed a few tears as she watched from the audience.
“Mom, I love you so much,” King continued. “Thank you for teaching me that God is always leaning and always has been leaning in my direction…. God is good all the time.”
King’s road to her first Oscar victory was paved in gold throughout awards season, as the actress — who plays the mother of a young woman whose fiancé is accused of a brutal rape in Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of the James Baldwin novel — picked up key precursor accolades at the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice Awards, the National Board of Review, and the New York Film Critics Circle.
Amid the industry’s increasing calls for more diversity in front of and behind the camera, King’s victory marks the fifth time an actress of color has won the Best Supporting Actress trophy across the last decade, following other victories by Viola Davis in 2017, Lupita Nyong’o in 2014, Octavia Spencer in 2012, and Mo’Nique in 2010.
“What resonated most for me about the character and the story itself is the love this woman has for her family and the love the family has for each other,” King previously told EW of working on the film. “[Barry] knew we would all come to the table with an understanding of the responsibility that we had. As black Americans, we know this family, but art doesn’t reflect that as often as we’d like. I’m grateful for the opportunity to play a woman that embodies the things I love about my mother and my grandmother.”