It was the first award of the night, and one of the most poignant wins for a country that has a president who hates Muslims so much he created a ban within his first week in office.
Mahershala Ali took home the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role during the 89th Academy Awards, and he thanked those in his life for making his win possible.
“I want to thank my teachers, my professors,” the “Moonlight” actor began. “One thing they consistently told me […] was that it wasn’t about you. It’s not about you, it’s about these characters, you are a servant. You’re in service to these stories and these characters.”
He went on to thank “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins and the film’s cast and crew. He also nodded to his wife and daughter, who was born four days ago.
“I want to thank her for being such a soldier through this process, and carrying me through it all,” he said, in an elegant kickoff to the night.
But what was even more important was the historical implications of his win. Ali became the first Muslim to win an Oscar and the fifth black actor to achieve a Supporting Actor Oscar.
Ali, who’s role in Moonlight garnered him a SAG and Golden Globe Award, definitely was the man of the evening.