Oscars 2017: Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali wins Best Supporting Actor

The Moonlight star beat British actor Dev Patel in the Supporting Actor category


Mahershala Ali has earned his first ever Oscar, picking up the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as Juan in Moonlight.


Having lost out on the Golden Globe to Aaron Taylor Johnson (who wasn’t Oscar-nominated) earlier this year, Ali triumphed over Dev Patel for Lion, Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water, Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea and Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals. 

In Moonlight, Ali’s character Juan is a drug dealer who nevertheless becomes a father figure to our young hero, Chiron. 

This is the first time a non-white actor has been recognised in the category for two decades, since Cuba Gooding Jr’s 1997 win for Jerry Maguire. 

Holding back tears as he fastened his jacket, he joked: “My grandma would want me to button up!”

Ali also paid tribute to his wife, saying: “We just had a daughter four days ago. I just want to thank her for being such a soldier through this process and really carrying me through it all.”

The film picked up an impressive eight nominations at this year’s awards and has received glowing reviews, with critics praising its complex portrayal of black, gay life. 

Naomie Harris was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress, with Barry Jenkins receiving a nod for Best Director and the movie up for Best Film. 

The 89th Academy Awards took place at a star-studded Hollywood ceremony on Sunday night, with Jimmy Kimmel serving as host for the first time in his career. 


See the Oscar winners in full, as they’re announced