January 30, 2016 08:55 PM

The Screen Actors Guild made it clear that Idris Elba‘s supporting role in Beast of No Nation was worthy of a leading turn at the podium on Saturday night – even if Elba was not nominated for an Oscar.

Saoirse Ronan presented the 43-year-old star with the award for outstanding performance for a male actor in a supporting role in a motion picture.

In his acceptance speech, Elba said, “We made a film about real people and real lives, you know, and to be awarded for it is very special because a lot of people were damaged through that.”

Check out PEOPLE’s full 2016 SAG Awards coverage and complete winners list!

The actor’s big win comes in the midst of the #OscarSoWhite controversy surrounding the Academy for the lack of diversity among this year’s acting nominees.

It’s incredibly rare for an actor to win a SAG Award when they haven’t been nominated for an Oscar that same year. One of the more recent times this happened was in 1996 when The Birdcage won the award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture.

Elba emerged victorious from a competitive field that included Christian Bale in The Big Short, Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies, Michael Shannon in 99 Homes and youngster Jacob Tremblay in Room.

The 22nd annual SAG Awards are being presented live and airing on both TNT and TBS.

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