Mahershala Ali Makes History as First Muslim to Win Oscar With Supporting Role in ‘Moonlight’
New dad Mahershala Ali started celebrating early at the Oscars on Sunday after landing the Best Supporting Actor prize for his role in Moonlight.
The star was the favorite to win the category and triumphed over Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion), and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals) to earn his first Academy Award.
As he took to the stage, the actor made sure to give a special mention to his wife Amatus Sami-Karim, and their newborn girl Bari Najma Ali, who was born on Wednesday.
“I just wanna thank my wife, who was in her third trimester during awards season,” he said. “We just had our daughter four days ago! I just wanna thank her for being such a soldier during this process, who really carried me through this all, so thank you.”
Moonlight, the eventual Best Picture winner, was up for a total of eight Oscars, just behind La La Land, which led all nominees heading into Sunday’s ceremony with 14 nods.
Justin Timberlake got the 89th Academy Awards event off to a big start by performing his chart smash and Best Original Song nominee “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” as he walked from the lobby of the Dolby Theater onto the main stage.
The Trolls star got fellow nominees like Naomie Harris, Jeff Bridges, Ryan Gosling, and Octavia Spencer grooving to the beat, and even enjoyed a dance with Halle Berry before he segued into a rendition of Bill Withers’ soul classic Lovely Day.
He ended his high energy set by introducing Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel to the stage.