Oscars 2017: Mahershala Ali Becomes First Muslim Actor to Win

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The Oscars have always been prominent for their stereotypical nominations and awards. However this year, in a turn of events, it was the first time a Muslim actor was nominated for the category of ‘Best Supporting Actor’.

American actor Mahershala Ali won the Oscar for the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for his portrayal of a drug dealer in coming-of-age drama “Moonlight”. Ali has set the media ablaze for becoming the first Muslim actor to pick up a golden statuette.

A first-time nominee, the 43-year-old actor was competing against Britain’s Dev Patel, veteran US actors Jeff Bridges, Michael Shannon and newcomer Lucas Hedges.

In his acceptance speech, Ali said,

“I want to thank my teachers, my professors. One thing that they consistently told me… ‘It’s not about you. It’s about these characters. You are a servant. You’re in service to these stories and these characters’.”

Ali can now add this latest award to the several he has already picked up. Ali has received universal acclaim from critics and won the Academy Award, the SAG Award and the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Moonlight tells the life story of a young African-American struggling to find his place as he grows up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. Ali plays a drug dealer named Juan who imparts life lessons to the protagonist Chiron that help him survive in prison and in the outside world.

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Muslims have won Oscars in various categories over the years — including Pakistani documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and feature director Asghar Farhadi — but none has taken a statuette for acting.

We wish Mahershala Ali the best of luck in his future endeavors. Who knows, he may even pick up an Oscar for ‘Best Actor’!

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