Taking home the Game Award for best performance for his role as Kratos in God of War Ragnarök, Christopher Judge wowed us with one hell of an outfit and then won us over with a touching thank you speech in which he paid tribute to his family and those who worked on the game.
The actual awards aspect of this year’s Game Awards kicked off with the trophy for best performance of the year. With the nominees introduced by none other than (surprise!) Al Pacino, Christopher Judge’s performance in the latest God of War won him the award. On stage, Judge delivered a detailed, if perhaps long, speech that was hard not to get a little weepy over.
Judge started off his speech by directly thanking his family.
“First off, I have to thank my momma, whose belief that I would amount to something good would never waver. Even though it looked like I would never amount to anything good. My brother, who’s my hero. At 40, changed his life. Went to medical school and is now Dr. Judge. My children, who I am forever proud of, for ever thankful of, and still the best role I’ve ever had is being your dad.”
Judge’s performance brought Kratos to life in an electrifying and instantly recognizable way. It’s no surprise he took home an award for it tonight. Kotaku’s Zack Zwiezen categorized the dynamic between sad-dad-era Kratos and his son Atreus as “the heart of this new era of God of War,” and from Judge’s speech tonight, we learned that this instantly iconic reframing of a classic video game character might’ve never happened. Thanking Cory Barlog, God of War’s director, for the chance to audition for the role, Judge said that, had he known a bit more about it, he might not’ve tried out for it.
“I was the last actor in California to read for [God of War]. And Cory said to me he didn’t think I would do it. And if I would’ve known it was a video game, back then, I might not have.”
It’s wild to think that such a subtle twist of fate could’ve denied us a remarkable performance, in which case Judge wouldn’t have been on stage accepting an award for it tonight. Though had it not happened, Keighley might’ve had a bit more breathing room to introduce the next award, as Judge’s speech definitely went on longer than expected. Valve is giving away a Steam Deck a minute at tonight’s awards, and the host later joked that Judge had been taking up extra time to give away some more Decks.