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Mahershala Ali has officially swept the best supporting actor race this season, earning his second Oscar for his portrayal of pianist Dr. Don Shirley in Green Book at the Oscars 2019 ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, Feb. 24.
Ali previously won in the same category just two years ago, for Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight in 2017. He follows in the footsteps of Denzel Washington, becoming the second black actor to win more than one Oscar for acting. Washington won the best supporting actor Oscar for Glory in 1989 and the best actor Oscar for Training Day in 2001.
Winning the best supporting actor race two times in three years and the first black actor to win two best supporting actor Oscars, Ali first thanked Dr. Shirley “for just trying to capture his essence,” describing how doing so “pushed me to my ends, which is a reflection of the person he was and the life that he lived and I thank him.”
He also thanked “my partner Viggo” and director Peter Farrelly. “I thank you for your leadership and your guidance and for also giving us space,” he said. “Like really giving us space to work it out and coming in and tweaking. I really appreciate and love you.”
Ali’s fellow best supporting actor category nominees included Adam Driver for BlacKkKlansman, Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Sam Elliott for A Star Is Born and Sam Rockwell for Vice.
Ali dedicated his Oscar to his grandmother, “who has been in my ear my entire life telling me that if at first I don’t succeed try, try again. That I could do anything I put my mind to. Always, always pushing me to think positively, and I know that I would not be here without her. That she has gotten me over the hump every step of the way.”
On the road to Oscar, Ali picked up supporting actor honors at the Golden Globe Awards, BAFTA Awards, SAG Awards and Critics’ Choice Awards.
Including best supporting actor, Green Book garnered five Oscar noms overall for best picture, best actor for Viggo Mortensen, best original screenplay and best film editing.
Ahead of the Oscars 2019 show, Ali said he was most looking forward to enjoying Oscar night with his wife. “Last time, in 2017, she had just had our daughter. So now this time she gets to go with me, and we just get to share in the experience together.”
Closing his speech, Ali thanked his wife and daughter, Bari.
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