Mahershala Ali becomes first Muslim actor to win an Oscar.

Mahershala Ali Just Became the First Muslim Actor to Ever Win an Oscar

Mahershala Ali Just Became the First Muslim Actor to Ever Win an Oscar

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 26 2017 10:24 PM

Mahershala Ali Just Became the First Muslim Actor to Ever Win an Oscar

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Mahershala Ali’s win for Best Supporting Actor is also a timely piece of history-making: He’s the first Muslim actor to ever win an Academy Award. (The late Omar Sharif was nominated for Lawrence of Arabia but didn’t win.) The Moonlight co-star previously detailed his conversion to Islam in a powerful speech at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, turning a story about his close relationship with his Christian preacher mother into a statement about tolerance, and he has not shied away from politics in other instances on his path to the Dolby Theatre.

On Sunday night, however, the newly minted Oscar winner kept his speech short and sweet, a humble and deeply thankful acceptance of an award that wasn’t just wholly deserved but also quietly groundbreaking.

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