Angela Bassett forever!
The other nominees were Jessie Buckley (Women Talking), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once) and Janelle Monáe (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery).
Near the end of her acceptance speech, Bassett, 64, thanked fans and several members of her "Disney and Marvel family," including Wakanda Forever director/co-write Ryan Coogler, and said she's "proud of the work that we did" with both the sequel and its 2018 predecessor, Black Panther.
She also expressed gratitude to the late Chadwick Boseman, who starred as King T'Challa in the first film and died in 2020 after a 4-year battle with cancer, "for your love and light surrounding us."
"We couldn't have made history, then and now, without you."
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Kevin Winter/Getty Angela Bassett
Of all her colleagues on the Black Panther films, Bassett said, "We showed the world that we could create and lead a billion-dollar box-office success. And my prayer is that that door remains open and the sky is the limit for other Black creators and storytellers around the world to join us."
Earlier in her speech, Bassett — who also won best supporting actress at the Golden Globe Awards on Tuesday — recalled the moment she "fell in love with acting," while "on a school trip to Washington, D.C., watching James Earl Jones in a production of Of Mice and Men at the Kennedy Center."
"I knew in that moment that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to make people feel the way that I felt, stirring in my seat as those actors drew me in, scene by scene, into their story," she said.
Kevin Winter/Getty Angela Bassett
And while Bassett "didn't know what the path would look like even after[she] got to Yale drama school," and "wasn't sure what might be reasonably possible," she is grateful for the "giants" in the industry who paved the way — namely, "Black actresses with extraordinary talent, like Ruby Dee and Cicely Tyson, Rosalind Cash and Diahann Carroll."
"It was their extraordinary work that showed me that there was a place for me in this business of show, especially at a time where Black women weren't shown in a significant way, oftentimes — not really present on television or the big screen. But thank God for them," she said.
RELATED VIDEO: Angela Bassett on the Cast of Black Panther and the Best Advice to Give Young Actors
Bassett previously opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about (spoiler alert) her character Queen Ramonda's death in the sequel, saying she "loved" the audience response to the moment.
"I love that friends, audiences have been so impacted by it. I've heard constantly, 'I'm sad and I'm mad.' I was like, 'Well, that's how I felt,' " she said. "A friend texted me and said, 'The theater is literally weeping.' I was like, 'I wish I were there. That'd be something to see. That would really be something to see and hear.' So many texts: 'Why didn't you warn me? I couldn't believe it.' "
"Or another friend, my roommate from college: 'I kept saying, they have a Heart-Shaped Herb. Shuri will come up with something. She's going to come back. I kept holding on until the end, because by some miracle, Ramonda's going to come back. She's going to cough,' " Bassett shared.
"They wanted to believe that was not the end," she added.
The 28th annual Critics' Choice Awards are currently airing live on The CW.