Million Dollar Baby star Morgan Freeman crushed British hopes, beating Clive Owen to win best supporting actor at the 77th Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
Freeman paid credit to director and co-star Clint Eastwood
Accepting his award, Freeman who had been nominated three times previously, thanked director Clint Eastwood calling the boxing drama "a labour of love".
"Getting a standing ovation was kind of humbling," said Freeman afterwards.
"A lot of people say you're due - maybe you are, maybe you aren't - it's an accolade," added the veteran star, 67.
"After Driving Miss Daisy, I became philosophical about the Oscar. It occurred to me that winning the nomination is probably the height of it," said Freeman.
"But when they call your name, all of that goes out the window."
An accomplished actor with considerable stage and television experience, Freeman earned his first best supporting actor Oscar nomination in 1987 after 20 years in the business, playing a vicious pimp in Street Smart.
Two years later, he cemented his reputation with his turn as a gentle chauffeur in Driving Miss Daisy - a role which saw him nominated for his second Oscar, this time in the best actor category.
His third nomination came in 1995, thanks to his leading performance in the acclaimed drama The Shawshank Redemption - a role which crystallised his on-screen gravitas.
He has since starred in a variety of popular films including Outbreak, Seven and Deep Impact, in which he played the US president.
In 2003, he has played God in the Jim Carrey comedy Bruce Almighty, and next year he will play Nelson Mandela in a film version of the former South African president's autobiography.
Freeman plays former boxer Scrap in Millon Dollar Baby
Million Dollar Baby, in which he plays a former boxer and trainer's confidant, marks Freeman's second collaboration with director Eastwood, following 1992's Unforgiven.
Freeman beat Owen, Thomas Haden Church, Alan Alda and Jamie Foxx to clinch the best supporting award on Sunday.
Foxx went on to win the best actor award for his portrayal of singing legend Ray Charles in the biopic Ray. It marked the first time in the history of the awards that African-Americans took both male acting honours.
Asked for his reaction, Freeman said: "Hollywood is continuing to make history. Life goes on. Things change. They never stay the same. So we're evolving with the rest of the world. That's what it means."
Million Dollar Baby went on to win best film, best director for Eastwood and best actress for Hilary Swank.