Mahershala Ali becomes first Muslim actor to win an Oscar

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Mahershala Ali has made Oscar history by becoming the first Muslim actor to win an Academy Award.

Ali, a first time nominee, played a Miami drug dealer who mentors a young boy who is being teased and bullied in the heartbreaking coming of age tale.

It has been a breakout year for Ali, who starred in the Netflix series Luke Cage and also had a role in another Oscar-nominated film, Hidden Figures.

The 43-year-old actor paid tribute to his teachers and Moonlight director Barry Jenkins in his acceptance speech and glowed on stage as he thanked his wife, who gave birth to their daughter four days earlier.

Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight follows three chapters in the life of Chiron, an African American boy struggling to find his place and coming to terms with his sexuality as he grows up in a rough neighbourhood of Miami.

Ali portrays conflicted neighbourhood dealer Juan, who takes Chiron under his wing.

The role won Ali best supporting actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a nomination at the Golden Globes.

Ali, whose mother is a Christian minister, converted to Islam in 1999 and joined the minority Ahmadiyya Community, a movement seen as heretical by some other Islamic sects, in 2001.

 

The Telegraph

 

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