• Mahershala Ali won the Screen Actors Guild supporting actor prize for his work in 'Moonllight'. (AAP)Source: AAP
The 'Moonlight' actor made a passionate appeal for compassion and calm, in trying times for Muslims in America.
Dave McNary

30 Jan 2017 - 1:59 PM  UPDATED 30 Jan 2017 - 1:59 PM

Mahershala Ali has won the SAG Best Supporting Actor award for his role as a drug dealer/mentor in the coming-of-age drama Moonlight.

Ali topped Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water, Hugh Grant for Florence Foster Jenkins, Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea, and Dev Patel for Lion.

In his acceptance speech, an emotional Ali talked about his conversion to Islam and how he and his mother were able to reconcile that, a reflection of the current political climate.

“My mother is an ordained minister. I am a Muslim. She didn’t do backflips when I called her and told her I converted 17 years ago,” he explained. “But we put things to the side and I was able to see her. She is able to see me. We love each other. The love has grown, and that stuff’s minutia. It’s not that important.”

Watch his acceptance speech in full:

Ali was nominated for his first Academy Award on Jan. 24 and faces Bridges, Hedges and Patel along with Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals for that trophy. He portrays a Miami crack dealer who befriends a shy boy in the opening section of the film.

Win a double pass to see 'Moonlight'
We're giving away 50 double passes to the acclaimed new release 'Moonlight'.
Moonlight review: A fearless and exhilarating character study

Ali won the Critics Choice award for the role and was nominated for a Golden Globe. He’s also part of the cast of Hidden Figures, nominated for the SAG ensemble award, as a military office who marries Taraji P. Henson’s Katherine Johnson character.

Ali was part of the ensembles of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and House of Cards, which were both nominated for SAG cast ensemble awards.

Iranian Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi says he won't attend the Oscars, even if travel bans are lifted
"This is not just limited to the United States; in my country hardliners are the same."
The Oscar Race is on!
With the Oscars season in full swing, let's revisit some of the movies who have scored the coveted golden statuette, every Friday 8:30pm on SBS.
Dev Patel is the star of 'Lion'. So why is he nominated as a supporting actor?
'Lion' and 'Moonlight' demonstrate that the Academy doesn't know what to make of shared roles.
Oscar nominations: 12 biggest snubs and surprises
Not everyone woke to good news this morning.
'La La Land' leads all-comers in 'not-so-white' Oscars line-up, Oz films have strong showing too
'La La' lands record 14 nominations, but it's got some stiff competition in many of the major categories.

Read more of the latest SBS Movies news, reviews and screening details 

Follow us on Facebook