The Moonlight actor started his speech by thanking those who helped him achieve such a deserved award. “I want to thank my teachers, my professors. 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’re in service to these stories and these characters.” He also thanked Barry Jenkins, the Moonlight director, as well as the film’s cast and crew.
Mahershala Ali gestured to his wife and daughter who was four days old and said, “I want to thank her for being such a soldier through this process, and carrying me through it all.”
He is the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar and also makes him the fifth black actor to acquire a Supporting Actor Oscar.