Mahershala Ali (born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore) made history last night at the 89th Academy Awards, where he became the first Muslim actor to ever win at the Oscars. 

Ali was granted the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in the drama film, Moonlight. From his very first Oscar nomination, Ali beat out Hollywood stars Jeff Bridges, Lucas Hedges, Dev Patel and Michael Shannon.

This makes him the first person of color to win Best Supporting Actor since 2004 and the fifth black actor to ever take the award.

The awards also saw another huge success for the Muslim world, with Iranian film, The Salesman's winning the best foreign language Oscar.

In his acceptance speech, Ali thanked his acting coaches, citing a crucial lesson they taught him: "It’s not about you, it’s about these characters, you are a servant. You’re in service to these stories and these characters."

In the film, which revolves around a black gay man's coming of age, Ali plays a Cuban drug dealer who becomes a father figure to a bullied boy named Chiron. 

The film has been a huge hit, taking home the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay out of eight Oscar nominations.

The Oscar came as a cherry on top of the string of awards Ali has won for his performance in Moonlight, including Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice and the NAACP Image awards. He has actually received more than 25 best supporting actor awards for the performance.

The 43-year-old actor is known for his roles in The Hunger Games saga, House of Cards, and the 2016 film Hidden Figures, which was nominated for three Academy Awards.

Ali in the film Moonlight Source: Pinterest

Ali was raised a Christian but converted to Islam while in graduate school after a visit to a mosque with his now-wife. 

He has spoken out about the discrimination he has faced as an African American Muslim. "If you convert to Islam after a couple of decades of being a black man in the U.S., the discrimination you receive as a Muslim doesn’t feel like a shock," he told Radio Times

"I’ve been pulled over, asked where my gun is, asked if I’m a pimp, had my car pulled apart."

After the Sept. 11 attacks, he was shockingly put on an FBI watch-list and his funds were frozen, according to The Guardian.

In his SAG Awards acceptance speech, he asked people to rise above differences and accept one another. This came soon after U.S. President Donald Trump signed a now-frozen executive order banning the admission of immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries into the U.S.

"My mother is an ordained [Christian] minister. I'm a Muslim. She didn't do backflips when I called her to tell her I converted 17 years ago," he said. "But I tell you now, you put things to the side. And I'm able to see her, and she's able to see me. We love each other, the love has grown. And that stuff is minutiae, it's not that important."

While Ali has become the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar, he is not the first to be nominated. Egyptian actor and Muslim convert Omar El Sharif was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in the epic film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962.

Sharif didn't win back then, but other Muslims have in different categories, including Pakistani Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

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Our reaction to his win: