43-year old Mahershala Ali might very well have been the most hard working overnight success story there has been. Developing his craft for over two decades before receiving his big break in the industry. Taking out the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at this year's edition of the Oscars, Ali made history on the night to also be the first Muslim to win an individual accolade at the ceremony.
The proceedings were not without controversy. As the picture Moonlight eventually won out for Best Picture following an awkward mixup with Warren Beatty handing the prize to La La Land. But it would be Ali who stole the show earlier in the evening. Giving credit to the screenplay and behind-the-scenes members for their diligence, Ali went out of his way to give them the attention.
You Serve The Characters: Ali
Giving a gracious and selfless acceptance speech on the podium, Ali was all class in thanking the people that got him to where he was now - a superstar.
"My grandma would want me to button up," he joked. "I want to thank my teachers, my professors, my - I have so many wonderful teachers. 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 are in service to these stories and these characters. I'm so blessed to of had an opportunity. It was about Juan, it was about Chiron, it was about Paula. The cast and crew, it was just such a wonderful experience. Thank you Barry Jenkins (director), thank you to Tarell Alvin McCraney (story creator). Adele Romanski (producer) who forced Barry to cast me (laughs). No, but it was just such a wonderful experience and I have so many people to thank who have gotten me here. My manager Carolyn Govers who I've been with for ten years."
MA Proud To Stand Tall Amongst His Peers
Ali also took time out to thank his competitors on the night, namely Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion) and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals). The other titles would see many nominations pass them by, only for Moonlight to take home Best Supporting Actor for Ali and the big prize of the night courtesy of Best Picture.
"Thank you so much and to the rest of the cast who have put in wonderful work. Anyone of them could be up here right now holding this trophy. It has been such a gift working with you, being inspired by you with all the performances you offered up."