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Mahershala Ali Wins Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for ‘Green Book’

This marks the actor's second Oscar in three years, after also picking up the trophy in the same category for his performance in 2017 Best Picture winner "Moonlight."

Mahershala Ali as Don Shirley in "Green Book"

Mahershala Ali as Don Shirley in “Green Book”

Universal Pictures

Mahershala Ali has won the 2019 Academy Award for his supporting performance in Best Picture contender “Green Book.” Ali beat a competitive field of contenders that included Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”), Sam Elliott (“A Star Is Born”), Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”), and Sam Rockwell (“Vice”).

Read More:  2019 Oscar Predictions: 91st Academy Awards

This marks the actor’s second Oscar win in three years, after also picking up the trophy in the same category for his performance in director Barry Jenkins’ 2017 Best Picture winner “Moonlight.” Ali joins a short list of actors and actresses with two or more wins in acting categories. He also becomes only the second black actor with two Oscar wins in acting categories. Denzel Washington is the other.

Additionally, this year marks a repeat of the 2017 Oscars, when both supporting actor categories were won by black actors: Mahershala Ali for “Moonlight,” and Viola Davis for “Fences.” Regina King won this year’s Best Supporting Actress category for her performance in “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

A question that haunted “Green Book,” as well as Ali, was whether lingering controversy around the fictionalized account of the relationship between Don Shirley (Ali) and Frank Vallelonga Sr., better known as Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), would hurt the film’s chances in the individual categories in which it’s been nominated. Clearly, as both the film and Ali continue to amass trophies throughout awards season, including at the Golden Globes, SAG and PGA awards ceremonies, the answer to the question has been a resounding no.

IndieWire predicted that Ali would win the category, with Richard E. Grant and Sam Elliott as potential spoilers.

The 91st Oscars were held at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood and was televised live on the ABC Television Network at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PT.

Follow Indiewire’s full coverage of the night’s festivities.

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