South African actress, Thuso Mbedu, wins Best Female Performance In A New Scripted Series at the 2022 Independent Spirit Awards.
The two-time Emmy nominated actress, who was born and raised in the small town of Pelham in KwaZulu-Natal, has become the latest South African export to be the toast of Tinseltown.
Mbedu first made her acting debut on the small screen in 2014 as a cast member on Isibaya playing the role Nosisa. Having built a stellar body of work in SA, Mbedu embarked on her breakout role in Hollywood last year when she scored a leading role in the Amazon Video limited series, The Underground Railroad.
The actress bagged her first Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Performance In A New Scripted Series beating out Anjana Vasan (We Are Lady Parts), Jana Schmieding (Rutherford Falls), Jasmine Cephas Jones (Blindspotting) and Deborah Ayorinde (THEM: Covenant) for the female lead honor.
— IFC (@IFC) March 7, 2022
Mbedu was visibly shocked by the win as she made her way to the stage to accept the award. “They told me a number of times to prepare something and I really didn’t,” the first-time nominee and winner began. “First and foremost, thank you to Film Independent for this recognition.”
After thanking creator and director Barry Jenkins for “absolutely everything,” Mbedu showed her appreciation for casting director Francine Maisler’s “guidance.”
“Thank you to Amazon, to all the executive producers, to my team, Beth, April, Laurie, everyone,” she continued. The actress then thanked her sister in South Africa, joking that “she would kill me if I don’t say anything about her.”
She showed her appreciation for “every single person who was involved in The Underground Railroad.” Mbedu said, “There was no person who was too small in making the project what it was, and I really, really hope that you guys will take the time to watch it because it’s an absolute masterpiece.”
“I’m grateful that I did get that opportunity, too, and I did a lot of research going into it guided by Barry, and I do hope that people will get the chance to receive it for what it is, without me feel like I imposed my emotions onto it anyway,” she added.
Mbedu added that winning the award was “surreal” and admitted she didn’t think she would be the honor’s recipient.