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Mahershala Ali becomes the first Muslim actor to win at the Oscars

POSTED: February 28, 2017 7:11 a.m.
Herb Scribner/

Mahershala Ali arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

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The 2017 Oscars began with a historic moment, as Mahershala Ali won the best supporting actor award for his role in “Moonlight.”

Ali is the first Muslim to win an Academy Award, according to Variety.

Ali thanked his professors and teachers in his award acceptance speech. He also said actors are servants to characters and people’s stories.

“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 said.

He also thanked his wife “for being a soldier through it all and carrying me through this process.”

Watch the full speech here.

Ali is also the first former NCAA basketball player to win an Academy Award, according to CBS Sports. He played for St. Mary's from 1992 to 1996, where he averaged 3.6 points and 1.1 rebounds per game.

He excelled as a senior, scoring 7.0 points per game with 1.8 rebounds per game, CBS reported.
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