Mahershala Ali is the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar

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Mahershala Ali and the little gold friend he made for his supporting role in 'Moonlight.'Mahershala Ali and the little gold friend he made for his supporting role in 'Moonlight.'

Image: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

2016%2f09%2f16%2fc4%2fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lza5.af8ecBy Proma Khosla2017-02-27 17:34:04 UTC

There are many reasons to applaud Moonlight's victory at the 89th Annual Academy Awards, one of which is that a black Muslim man won Best Supporting Actor in Trump's America.

Mahershala Ali, 43, became the fifth black actor to win an Oscar for his or her supporting role, and the first-ever Muslim to take home an acting Oscar in history, per the LA Times

"Regardless of theology, or however you see life, or relate to worshipping God — as an artist, my job is to tell the truth and then try to connect with these characters and people as honestly and deeply as possible," Ali told the Los Angeles Times

"I’m proud to own [being Muslim] and I embrace that. I just feel blessed to have had the opportunities that I have had," he added.

Ali converted to Islam as an adult and went by the name Mahershalalhashbaz Ali until 2010. He is married to composer and artist Amatus Sami-Karim, who just days ago gave birth to their daughter. In addition to Moonlight, he appeared in Hidden Figures, last year's Luke Cage and House of Cards (he's kind of having a moment).

In 1974, the Academy Award for Best Actress went to Ellen Burstyn, who grew up Catholic but explored Sufism in her late 30s before going on to study various other religious ideologies. The Academy, which meticulously records historical and demographic data around its nominees and winners, has never tracked religions

Ali's win was one of several politically powerful Oscar victories, including that of Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi and Moonlight's effortlessly intersectional Best Adapted Screenplay win. 

If this is where Hollywood is heading, we're here for it.

Topics: The Oscars, academy-awards-2017, Entertainment, Movies, mahershala ali, moonlight, oscars 2017


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