Actor becomes first Filipino to pull off an awards season sweep

Filipino-American Darren Criss won the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a TV Movie or Limited Series award during the 25th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards on Sunday, January 27 — completing his awards sweep for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”

In the series, Criss played Andrew Cunanan, the half-Filipino serial killer who murdered famed fashion designer Gianni Versace, in the second installment of FX’s “American Crime Story.”

During his acceptance speech on Sunday, Criss said that despite playing Cunanan who “used masks to destroy things,” his “goal is to hopefully create something positive, to use masks to create positive change.”

“So for all of the friends and families that are still affected by the destruction that [Cunanan] wrought, I hope that they know our goal was not to make a spectacle of their tragedy, but to create a positive dialogue about social issues and bring to justice things that were in the shadows,” the Fil-Am actor said.

With the SAG victory, the 31-year old actor becomes the first-ever Filipino to be recognized by the prestigious award-giving body.

He also makes history as the first person of Filipino descent to pull off an awards season sweep by winning an Emmy, a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice Award, and a SAG Award.

“It’s a shame that I’m the first,” Criss told reporters backstage when asked about his historic win, adding that “The roles are few and far between for someone of my ethnicity.”

However, he said that “while that’s a tragedy, the winds are shifting and I’m very excited. It’s an honor, and it’s been the coolest year for representation across film and television and culture in general, and I think what’s really exciting about it is that it’s not just some kind of Hollywood agenda.”

“I think consumers have shifted what they want to see; they want to see themselves, they want to see their stories told by new faces and serve that appetite. So to have been a small part of that is an extraordinary privilege that’s much bigger than myself,” Criss added.

Ryan Murphy, series creator and executive producer of “American Crime Story,” dedicated an Instagram post to Criss for his “clean sweep” this awards season.

“Darren’s portrayal of Andrew Cunanan in ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’ is now one for the record books, and one of the most iconic, awarded portrayals in television history,” Murphy wrote, sharing a memory of the Fil-Am actor on the first day of shooting.

“The first take is the one in the pilot and in that moment, I knew Darren was going to blow everyone away. He certainly did. Very proud of you, Mr. Criss,” he added.

 

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It’s a clean sweep. Congratulations to Mr. Darren Criss for winning the Emmy, the Golden Globe, the Broadcast Critics, and last night, the SAG. Darren’s portrayal of Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is now one for the record books, and one of the most iconic, awarded portrayals in television history. My favorite memory of making this show and directing Darren was on our first day of filming. At seven in the morning, Darren had to wade into the freezing ocean and howl at the sky in pain. He said to me “ummm…what do you want here?” I said “everything you’ve got.” And that’s what he delivered. The first take is the one in the pilot and in that moment, I knew Darren was going to blow everyone away. He certainly did. Very proud of you, Mr. Criss.

A post shared by Ryan Murphy (@mrrpmurphy) on

Criss is best known for his run on Fox’s “Glee” from 2010 to 2015 before “American Crime Story.” In 2012, he made his Broadway debut by playing J. Pierrepont Finch in the revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

Earlier this month, he dedicated his Golden Globes win to his Cebuana mother.

“As we’ve seen, it’s been a marvelous year for representation in Hollywood. And I’m so enormously proud to be a teeny tiny part of that as the son of a firecracker Filipina woman from Cebu that dreamed of coming to this country and getting to be invited to cool parties like this,” Criss said during his speech.

“So mom, I know you’re watching this. You are hugely responsible for all the good things in my life. I dedicate this to you,” he added.

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