Yes, it’s true! Mahershala Ali [Mahershalalhashbaz Ali] became not just the first Muslim actor, but the first black-muslim actor to take home the golden trophy. Winning the Best Supporting Actor award for his role of a drug-dealer, Juan, in the Oscar ‘Best Picture’ Winner, Moonlight, this Oakland-born actor received the award with an emotional speech thanking his fellow cast members, his teachers, professors and his wife.
People from the Muslim community have won Oscars in various categories like Pakistani documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, but Ali is the first person to take home the golden lady.
Beating other nominees like Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water, Lucas Hedge for Manchester by the Sea, Dev Patel for Lion and Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals, Mahershala Ali won the award.
Born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore, named after a biblical prophet Isiah, he was raised by a Christian mother, but he later converted to Islam in 1999. He joined the Ahmadiyya community, a minority group. Known for playing the tough guy, his roles have found him critical appreciation.
Ali is known for playing several notable characters:
Remy Danton in the Netflix series House of Cards, Cornell Stokes in Luke Cage, Colonel Boggs in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, and Tizzy in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Watch his Oscar Acceptance Speech: