Emmys: Jharrel Jerome Wins First Emmy for Lead Actor in 'When They See Us'

The Exonerated Five were shown giving a standing ovation to the first-time Emmy winner during Sunday night's ceremony.

Jharrel Jerome took home the award for lead actor in a limited series for When They See Us during Sunday night's Emmy Awards.

Jerome beat out other nominees Mahershala Ali (True Detective), Benicio Del Toro (Escape at Dannemora), Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal), Jared Harris (Chernobyl) and Sam Rockwell (Fosse/Verdon).

"I feel like I should just be in the Bronx right now, chillin,' waiting for my mom's cooking but I'm here," the actor said as he accepted his award with visible emotion.

Jerome praised his fellow nominees and thanked his family for their support. After expressing gratitude to When They See Us director Ava DuVernay ("Thank you for giving me this opportunity"), Jerome took a moment to thank the Exonerated Five. The men were then shown in the audience giving Jerome a standing ovation.

Jerome broke onto the scene with Barry Jenkins' 2016 Oscar winner Moonlight, and starred as Korey Wise in Ava DuVernay's When They See Us, where he served as the only actor to portray his character's journey from childhood into adulthood. His role in When They See Us marks his first Emmy nomination and win.

Backstage, Jerome discussed winning for a story that depicts the "pain" that African Americans can endure on a "regular basis." "I think our strongest stories are the stories of pain considering that's what we go through on a regular basis. … I think the truth is our pain needs to be told," he said.

Jerome also said that though he won, working on the series was a team effort with the Exonerated Five including Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise and Yusef Salaam. "I feel like I'm on the basketball team, and they're on the team with me, and I made that final shot."

"The first time I met Korey, he took off the chain around his neck and put it on my neck and said, 'You're the king now. You're Korey Wise,'" Jerome recalled in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he never ceases to be inspired by Wise.

The 71st annual Emmy Awards is airing live on Fox from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.