On Sunday evening, Cranston won the Tony for Leading Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Howard Beale in Network, the stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning 1976 film. “Finally a straight old white man gets a break,” Cranston joked while taking to the stage to accept the award.
He thanked his producers, most particularly the National Theatre in London, where the production began in 2017. Cranston went on to thank everyone from his backstage team, from playwright Lee Hall (Rocketman) to his wife, who encouraged him not to bring “being mad as hell” home with him.
Cranston then made a pointed statement about the role of journalists in a free society and dedicated his award to them. “Howard Beale is a fictitious TV newsman who found himself in the line of fire because of the pursuit of truth,” he said. “I would like to dedicate this to all the real journalists around the world. Both in the press, the print media, and the broadcast media who are in the line of fire. The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.”
The former Breaking Bad star previously won a Tony award for his portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way in 2014. He also earned an Emmy nomination for the role when it was adapted to television.
Cranston is now the second actor to win a major award for portraying Howard Beale in Network — Peter Finch won the Best Actor Oscar posthumously for his role in the original film.
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Network (stage play)